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Uli K 




"Say to them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I 
desire not the death of the wicked, but that the 
wicked turn from his way and live." EZECH. 
xxxiii. ii. 

" The Son of Man is come to seek and to save 
that which was lost" LUKE xix. n. 

" A faithful saying, and worthy oj all accepta~ 
tion, that Jesus Christ came into \this world to 
save sinners, of whom I am the first ." i TIM. i. 15, 

" He is the propitiation for our sins, and not 
Tor ours only, but also for those of the whole- 
world." i ST. JOHN ii. 15. 

DUBLIN. 1898 

DEC 21 1956 

fUb bstat: 


Cum opus cut titulus est " The Comparative Number of 
the Saved and Lost" a P. Nicolao Walsh nostrce Socie 
tatis sacerdote compositum aliqui ejusdem Societatis 
revisores, quibus id commissum fuit, recognoverint et in 
lucetn edi posse probaverint ; facultatem concedimus ut 
typis mandetur. 


DUBLINI, die 22 Nwembris, 1898. 

Imprimatur : 




A. M. D. G. 

To God 

The Creator, Father, 

Saviour, and Sanctifier 

of all Men, 

To the 

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus which 
loves all Men, 

And to 

The Ever Blessed Mary, Mother 

of God, Mother .of all Men, and 

The Refuge of Sinners. 

I wish to link this little book with the Memory of the late 

Hon. Judge John O Hagan, who died November i2th 1890, 

R. I. P. A ho with the Memory of his wife, Sister Mary Frances 
of the Blessed Sacrament, who died to this world, by the 
Religious Profession, October 4th 1898. In admiration of 
their lives, and in affectionate gratitude for their friendship, 
their kindness, and their generous charity to me. 


Tins study is the outcome of some thought on 
a subject which has long had an interest for the 
writer. No one will find in it deep learning or 
reasoning. Nor could such be expected of me. 

It was written and is published in the belief 
that it advocates an unpopular opinion opposed 
to those held by the great majority of writers 
and preachers. Still, I do hope that any who 
may read it will not be too severe on me for 
my boldness, and will admit that something 
sound and solid may be said in its favour. 

I call my opinion unpopular though it is 
hard to make out why it should be so because 
for the one who advances it in book or pulpit, 
there are the many who uphold the contrary ; 
and some of them in so decided and strong a 
manner as to suggest that none other is tenable. 
I need not say that if there be a thought 
expressed, or the manner of expressing a 
thought, which is not perfectly in keeping 
with the teaching and spirit of Holy Church, 
I unreservedly retract it. 


The theologians I have looked into are 
for the most part Cardinal Franzelin, S.J., 
and Father Hurter, S.J. ; the Scripture Com 
mentators A. Lapide, Maldonatus, NT Evilly, 
Bellarmine on the Psalms, and Dr. Trench 
on the parables. 

I desire to thank the Censors who examined 
the manuscript, my Superiors who have allowed 
me to publish it, and His Grace the Archbishop 
of Dublin, who most kindly gave me .his 

N. W. 

Feast of St. Francis Xavitr, 1898. 










OF THE CHURCH . ... , .83 

VII. HOLY SCRIPTURE . ,. . t ,107 







WE read in the Gospel of Saint Luke that "A 
certain man said to our Lord : Lord, are there 
few that be saved ? " This query is evidence 
that the comparative number of the saved 
and lost is a very old question, and that the 
tendency long ago, in the days of the old 
dispensation, was to think that the few are 
saved and the many lost. In any case, it is 
a question which has been from time to time, 
if not always, earnestly and warmly debated 
amongst believers. It has an attraction and 

1 By the word " Lost " I always mean those only to whom 
the Judge shall say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into ever 
lasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels>" 


interest for them, because it touches their 
final and eternal destiny. 

It is, as all know, a question about 
which there is no authoritative decision of 
the Church, nor unanimous opinion of her 
Fathers or Theologians : an open question 
therefore, about which we may speculate, pro 
vided we do so in a reverent and religious 
spirit. It is one of thpse dubia in which 
we are free, according to the celebrated 
dictum, of Saint Augustine, "In dubiis 
liber las." 

Father Faber, in his well-known book, 
The Creator and, the Creature, writes on 
this subject in a full, fair, and learned way. 
There is nothing one-sided or partisan about 
him. He gives all the opinions, held by 
others, speaks of them with respect,, and 
states his own with great moderation and 
modesty. I wish to admit and acknowledge 
my indebtedness to him in stating the ques 
tion, as well as in some other points. 

Immediately after the chapter on "The 
Easiness of Salvation," follows one, entitled 
The Great Mass of Believers," in the 
opening of which he says: "We will suppose 
the objection to be made that if salvation be 


easy, then practically we ought to find that 
most Catholics are saved. It is not enough 
to say, that though salvation is easy, the 
corruption of man is so tremendous that 
little comes of it ; for then it seems a ques 
tion of words to call salvation easy. Salva 
tion is the saving of fallen man, and 
therefore to be really easy it must far more 
than counterbalance his corruption. The 
question is one of too momentous a character, 
of too thrilling an interest for us to be 
content with mere rhetoric. We repeat, if 
salvation be easy most Catholics must be 
saved. Can we venture to say that such is 
our belief?" 

This question is not, however, to be neces 
sarily limited to the relative number of 
Catholics lost or saved ; nor do Father Faber 
and others so limit it. It may be extended 
to all men to Jew, Gentile, Greek, and 
Barbarian ; in a word, to every fallen child 
of fallen Adam ; and such is the purpose of 
this study. 

This subject has been treated directly and 
formally by theologians, Scripture commenta 
tors, ascetical writers, catechists, and preachers 
of high name ; indirectly and informally by 


some of the Fathers of the Church. Their 
views may be classified as follows: i. Many 
hold that the majority of mankind will be 
lost because pagans, unbelievers, heretics, and 
schismatics make up a majority ; and some 
are of this mind, even taking children into 
their reckoning. According to this view, few 
adults will be saved. 2. Some, who confine 
themselves to Catholics only, maintain that, 
even taking children into account, the majority 
will be lost ; which really means that few adult 
Catholics will be saved. These we may well 
call the rigorous or severe views. 3. On the 
other hand, many, notably Suarez, hold, as 
Father Faber does, that the great majority 
of adult Catholics will be saved. 4. Some, 
amongst whom we are glad to count the 
illustrious Dominican, Father Lacordaire, hold 
or incline to the opinion that the majority of 
mankind, including heathens, heretics, etc. r 
will be saved. 1 We may call these the mild 
or merciful views. 

1 After this study was written some friends drew my attention 
to the fact that the Rev. Pere Monsabre, O.P., in one of his 
Notre-Dame Conferences, Lent 1889; Father Castelein, S.J., 
in a series of articles published in the Revue Generate, headed 
; Rigorism and the Number of the Saved 3 ; and Father Joseph 
Rickaby, S.J., in one of his Oxford Conferences, headed " The 


Father Faber, in classifying the upholders 
of these opinions, notes, " In point of theo 
logians, the rigorous opinions regarding the 
whole mass of mankind have an overwhelm 
ing majority. The rigorous opinions con 
cerning adult Catholics have more theologians 
on their side than the milder views. 1 But if 
we abstract moral, ascetical, and hortatory 
authors who write to rouse and to impress 
their readers, and retain only pure theologians 
in the stricter sense, I think the authorities 
on the two sides will be not far from evenly 
balanced, the excess, however, being in favour 
of the rigorous view. Some of the authori 
ties on the milder side are of very great 

Father Lacordaire, in one of his celebrated 
Notre- Dame conferences " On the results of 

Extension of Salvation," advocate this mildest opinion. Though 
Father Faber whom Pere Monsabre quotes did not formally 
set himself to prove it, his sympathies were clearly with it. 

1 Father Joseph Rickaby says in his conference, " The 
Extension of Salvation : " But as to what proportion of men 
die in sanctifying grace, and what proportion in mortal sin 
nothing is revealed, nothing is of faith, and nothing is really 
known to theologians. If ever you find a theologian con 
fidently consigning the mass of human souls to eternal flames, 
be sure he is venturing beyond the bounds of Christian faith 
and of theological science. You are quite free to disbelieve his 
word ; I do not believe it mysel" 


the divine government," inclines, as do some 
others, to the mildest opinion of all, namely, 
that the majority of mankind saved. 
To this, I purpose, with all respect for the 
views of others, to confine my advocacy. All 
the arguments used in its favour will, however, 
tell with greater force in favour of the other 
mild opinion, that the majority of adult 
Catholics will be saved. 

But it may, at the very outstart, be fairly 
objected: Is it safe or prudent to reject the 
severer views, when it is admitted even by 
opponents that they have the , weight of 
authority one of them overwhelmingly on 
their side ? Does not this fact prove that 
there must be solid foundation and good 
reason for them ? Does it not appear strange, 
almost incredible, that holy and learned men 
would uphold views naturally distasteful and 
repelling, unless they w r ere compelled to do 
so by convincing arguments ? This objection 
may be answered in one sentence : Holy and 
learned men like Suarez, Faber, Lacordaire, 
Bergier, and others, hive held or inclined to 
the milder opinions, .and, in a perfectly free 
and open question like this, there could be 
nothing wrong or imprudent in a person 


taking his j stand with them. Moreover, if 
anyone in studying this question, within 
Catholic lines, becomes convinced that the 
mildest opinion is the most probable, he 
could not be justly found fault with for up 
holding it, provided he does so in that 
reverent and obedient spirit which should 
mark all religious discussions on open or 
free subjects. 

The, advocates of the severer opinions seem 
to rely, as. far as I can learn, on two argu 
ments i.-.Q.n some texts, types, or figures 
of Holy Scripture which, according to their 
interpretation, touch directly and immediately 
this subject. 2. On the sinful external. Aspect 
of the Catholic world, and the hopelessly sinful 
and lost aspect, as it appears to them, of the 
pagan, heretical, non-Catholic .world. We 
hope to be able to show that both fail; the 
first, because it is in itself very weajc, counter 
acted also by as strong, if not stronger, texts in 
favour of the mild opinions. The second, 
because it is naturally calculated to mislead. 
Father Vasquez, a theologian of name, writes : 
" It is clear from Scripture that the number of 
the lost is greater than the number saved," 
and hesitates, or rather declines, to give a 


favourable opinion with reference to Catholics, 
Yet Father Faber does not fear to say : " In 
the use of the Scripture argument the triumph 
is completely and most remarkably on the 
milder side. Indeed, the Scripture proof 
seems quite unmanageable in the hands of 
the rigorists." Suarez holds as more pro 
bable that the majority of Catholics are saved ; 
whilst A. Lapide gives as his reason for com 
bating this opinion that the greater number 
of living theologians in Rome in his day 
thought the general laxity of morals in the 
wt>rld a strong proof that the severer view 
was the more probable. 

The upholders of the milder and more 
merciful views seem to rely on arguments 
more solid and logical. On the character 
of God, and on His relations, providence, 
economy, and will towards all men ; as we 
have them clearly evidenced in His own in 
spired word, and formulated by theologians. 
These, fairly and fully studied, would almost 
necessitate us to think that the difficulty is 
or ought to be, not to be saved, but to be lost ; 
and that none are lost for ever except they who 
wilfully fight God to the end, and that these 
are the fewer rather than the greater in number. 


I must admit that it is not difficult to account 
for the prevalence of the severe or rigorous 
views, because of certain external aspects of 
the world looked at and regarded in a human 
way according to man s natural wont. We 
are, as a rule, inclined to be severe rather than 
considerate and merciful in our study, opinions, 
and judgments of our fellow-man. " Man sees 
those things only which appear, but the Lord 
beholdeth the heart." Is it therefore unlikely 
that we, judging from mere appearances, are 
often inclined to think of or fear as lost many 
whom God, the Great Father, who tenderly 
takes in and weighs everything for as well as 
against His children, treats in a far more just 
and compassionate manner ? 

God works out salvation in His own way 
by grace, and the action of grace in the soul 
makes no noise, attracts no attention, falls in 
no way under the senses. And what do we 
know of God s secret action in the souls of 
men, living or dying? We often know much 
of the wild doings of youth and early manhood, 
but little or nothing of the salutary changes 
which take place, imperceptibly, in a settled 
life, in later years, in sickness, in suffering, in 
old age, or when death is near. We are struck, 


startled perhaps, by the evil doings of some 
men, whilst the daily good deeds of thousands 
are unnoticed, or cause us no surprise. The 
innocence of children, the patient endurance of 
the poor and, , afflicted in their hard lot, are 
ignored or overshadowed by the wickedness 
of the adult, and the voluptuousness of the 
rich who have peace in their possessions. 
The world is a bad place, no doubt ; but its 
badness is brought far more before men, and 
forced on their attention, than the supernatural 
world,, with its abundant ever - overflowing 
fountains of ordinary and extraordinary graces, 
and the sanctifying and saving effects which 
they produce, silently, in the souls of men. 
Unkindness, ingratitude, injustice, because they 
hurt, irritate, excite angry passion, are far 
oftener spoken of and made public than deeds 
of kindness, gratitude, or charity, which are 
generally kept more or less secret by the 
persons concerned. 

Besides, is it not true that evil is, for the 
most part, visible, observable, self-asserting, 
bold, violent ; whilst goodness is, on the con 
trary, quiet, modest, humble, unostentatious ? 
The bad and wicked deeds of man are much 
more in evidence than the virtuous and holy. 


Newspapers, the police and law court reports 
keep them so. One murder "one more 
unfortunate come to her death"- one suicide, 
the horrors, cruelties, and sins of a passing 
war will be much in the minds and on the 
jips pf many who never advert to the millions 
who at - the same time are leading really 
Christian Catholic lives, or lives good accord 
ing to their lights. To the millions of priests, 
religious men and women and lay persons who 
are living lives of close union with God, and of 
devotion to the spiritual and temporal welfare 
of others. Let us consider a case in point near 
home. One takes up the morning newspaper 
and looks over the police courts. He is 
shocked and horrified by brutal cases of wife- 
beating, cruelty to children all traceable to 
intemperance and of other crimes, a dozen 
or so for the morning sitting, and is tempted 
to think Dublin is a bad city and on the 
road to perdition. Yet it numbers, by the 
thousands, honest, upright, sober, Christian, 
religious inhabitants families who live in love 
and peace, parents who care and educate their 
children in a most conscientious manner. A 
religious city and if you take note of its charit 
able institutions, orphanages, hospitals, asylums, 


etc., all built, established, and supported by the 
people, without government help the most 
charitable city in the world. 

Father Faber puts this truth before us in 
his own beautiful and striking way when he 
says : " Evil, like the world, is loud, rude, 
anxious, hurried, and ever acting on the de 
fensive, while goodness partakes of the nature 
of Him who alone is truly good. It imitates 
His ways of secrecy and concealment, and is 
impregnated with His spirit of unostentatious 
tranquillity. The infuriated mob that burns 
down a church and tramples the Blessed Sacra 
ment under foot, is a much more obvious and 
obtrusive phenomenon than the dozen Carmelite 
nuns who have been doing the world s hardest 
work for it before that tabernacle door for 
years. The whole priesthood of the Church, 
busy at its work of mercy, catches the eye 
much less than a single regiment in scarlet 
marching down on its fellow-Christians." With 
all respect for the many writers and preachers 
of name who use the external-aspect argument 
to prove that the majority of mankind, includ 
ing Catholics, are lost, I must, in all humility, 
say that I can see no proof in it, and that as an 
argument it is most misleading. 


Still, it is strange that so many holy and 
learned men l have taken pessimist views, and 
held the most extreme and severe opinions in 
this matter. But this may be accounted for. 
Some of these were mere theologians of retired 


studious lives, who probably heard more of the 
bad external side of the world than of the good 
which is in it. Preachers and ascetical writers, 
who believed, as many of them did and do, 
in fear as the great incentive to avoid sin, 
utilised those opinions in order to excite dread 
and to urge the faithful to work out their 
salvation in fear and trembling ; utilised 
them often in a very one-sided way, taking, 

1 " It is true that older theologians take a very gloomy view 
on this subject, holding it, not as of faith, but as their conclusion 
from premises of faith. In an age when men freely gave over 
one another to torture and death-, they did not look for any 
wide and far-reaching final mercy of God upon the sins of 
humanity. Still, they spoke in excess of their knowledge and 
in excess of their faith. We must not be dogmatic in sup 
porting the contrary side. We have no more revelation than 
they had. Still, we may opine and conjecture and argue for 
greater leniency. The rigour of the older theologians cul 
minated in Jansenism. To the Jansenist the elect were the 
few grapes left upon the vine after a careful vintage (Isaias 
xxiv. 13). Since the extirpation of Jansenism, the pendulum of 
theological speculation has swung the other way, and theo 
logians generally hope more of the mercy of God, or, at least, 
speak with less assurance of the range of His rigorous justice." 


as we shall see, great rhetorical liberties 
with holy Scripture. Some of them would 
appear to have formed so transcendant an idea 
of God, of His majesty, His holiness, His 
justice, His power, that they thought few could 
pay Him that worship and give Him that 
service which would be at once worthy of 
Him and sufficient to save themselves. If 
may be that, when absorbed in thought of 
Him as King of kings and Lord of lords all 
Holy, all Just, all Terrible, they overlooked 
too much the fact that He is also the Great 
Creator, Father and Saviour of all men all 
Loving and all Merciful. We read of holy 
men who were very much alarmed sincerely, 
I believe, though some would perhaps say 
absurdly so about their own salvation. 
Such persons would be, naturally inclined to 
have this same feeling of alarm about others. 
A few have written or preached in so decided 
and strong a manner on this subject as to 
suggest the suspicion that they thought it 
would be more for the honour and glory of 
God that a greater number should be lost 
than saved. 

Father Faber, writing of the severe opinion 
that the majority of Catholics are lost, says : 


"According to this rigid opinron, if the 
deceased baptized infants of the 4 faithful, 
with the deceased baptized infants of heretics, 
added to the adult Catholics who are saved, 
do trot make a majority; and if also the 
statement be true that the deaths of the 
children of Catholics nearly equal in num 
ber as Ruiz says the deaths of adult 
Catholics, then must the number of adults, 
who are saved, be so small that the Church 
of the redeemed in heaven, the conquest 
of our Saviour s precious blood, is chiefly 
composed of children, of those who on 
earth never merited, never . loved, never 
used their reason at all. Is not this a con 
clusion so repugnant as to be inadmissible?" 
And yet, Father Faber, who evidently rejects 
this opinion, is obliged to admit that it has 
many holy and learned advocates, everi a 
majority, on its side. This question of the 
lost and saved is truly a very free and open 

It will not, I hope, be considered out of 
place to close these remarks on the arguments 
used by the advocates of the -two rigorous 
opinions, by giving an example, of the manner 
in which they assert and endeavour to prove 


them. Massillon 1 is considered by learned 
critics, such as the late Lord Brougham, to 
be the first of French preachers. We have 
two celebrated sermons of his entitled, " On 

1 There are some differences on minor points between the 
Rev. Edward Peach s translation of Masillon s sermon a On the 
small number of the elect," which I have used, and the sermon 
as I find it in the original. Peach gives two distinct sermons 
preached, one on Septuagesima, and the other on Sexagesima 
Sunday. The text of the former is, "Many are called but few 
are chosen." Of the second, " The parable of the sower who 
went out to sow his seed." In the original I can find only one 
sermon a very long one preached on the Monday of the 
third week of Lent. Text, "There were many lepers in Israel 
in the time of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them was 
cleansed, but Naaman the Syrian." On comparing, however, 
the translation and the original, I found that Peach divided and 
condensed the long sermon into two, and that his translation is 
fairly faithful. Could it be that Peach accommodated the 
sermon of Monday to two Sundays, taking as the texts a word 
from the gospels of each? If this supposition be true, it was 
scarcely fair to make Masillon say in the first sentence of the 
first sermon, "The words of my text declare that many are 
called but few are chosen." Suggesting that this inspired word 
settled the question. I fear that Peach is in a great measure 
answerable for this most despairing sermon being substantially 
preached in many English-speaking pulpits year after year. 
Monsabre gives extracts, in his conference, from Masillon s 
sermon. He shows the weakness of his Scripture illustrations, 
and condemns in strong words the exaggerated tone and style 
of the sermon, which, he says, approaches too near to that 
savage theology cetle tJieologie sauvage which pretends that 
Christ did not die for all men, that He thought of the elect only 
in the work of redemption, and distributes His effective graces 
with a miserly hand. 


the small number of the elect." Though we 
must be presumptuous enough to differ from 
and criticise him, we cannot but admire that 
noble, independent, apostolic spirit which alone 
could have inspired and supported him in 
addressing such sermons to such an audience 
to Louis XIV. and his voluptuous and 
corrupt Court. Anyone who may carefully 
read those discourses of his will, I think, 
consider my remarks fair and just, at least 
from my point of view. 

The great preacher takes for his text the 
words of our Lord, " Many are called, but 
few are chosen "; sincerely believing, as many 
others do erroneously as we shall see that 
these words prove his opinion. He passes 
over the Scripture arguments in a very off 
hand and self-satisfied manner. He gives 
one paragraph to them : " Were it my inten 
tion," he says, "to strike terror into your 
hearts, I would in this discourse enumerate 
the alarming examples with which the Scrip 
tures are filled on this subject. I would tell 
you that the Prophet Isaias compares the 
small number of the elect to the few bunches 
of grapes which escape the eye of the vintager, 
to the few ears of corn which chance only 


preserves from the sickle of the reaper. I 
would tell you, in the words of God Himself, 
that there are two paths, one narrow, rugged, 
strewed with thorns and trodden by very 
few; the other broad, spacious, adorned with 
flowers, and trodden by the far greater part 
of mankind. I would tell you that the gospel 
unreservedly declares that perdition is the fate 
of the multitude, and that the number of the 
elect bears no comparison with the number of 
the reprobate." With all apostolic liberty, I 
must say that the few bunches of grapes and the 
few ears of corn may be rhetoric, but have not 
a shadow of proof. The two paths suggest 
a difficulty which shall be considered hereafter, 
while it is regrettable that so great and good 
a man should have asserted that the gospel 1 
unreservedly declares that perdition is the fate 
of the multitude, and that the number of the 
elect bears no comparison, .to the number of 
the reprobate." The gospel ; which gives us 
the history of Him who came to save the 
perishing and the lost, who spoke the parables 

1 I had used this portion of Peach s translation before I com 
pared it with the original. In the latter the words are "The 
Holy Books everywhere declare." The Holy Books, old and 
new, everywhere, as we shall see, give testimony to God the 
Father, and to Christ, the Saviour of all men. 


of the lost sheep and the prodigal, wfro so 
gently and sweetly forgave the poor woman 
taken in adultery, and who died to redeem and 
merit saving grace for all men. 

Having disposed of Scripture argument, he 
then proceeds to " examine the causes why the 
number of the elect is so small." " The elect 
consist of two classes only of those who pre 
served baptismal innocence, and of those who 
regained innocence by a true repentance." He 
then asserts that "the first is a privilege 
enjoyed by very few, and the second requires 
a grace which, in the present general relaxation 
of morals and discipline, is either seldom re 
ceived or seldom corresponded with." " There 
are more," said a holy father, " who never lost 
their baptismal innocence than have recovered 
it again by true repentance." " Seldom is there 
one who lives innocent ; seldom is there one 
who dies penitent." Then, in order to show 
the fewness of the innocent, and the immense 
number who could be saved only by true 
repentance, but who never make it, he pictures 
the bad external aspect of the Christian and 
Catholic world in the strongest language. I 
can give only one or two extracts out of many : 
"But these times" the earliest days of the 


Church "are elapsed, and great is the change 
that has taken place. The number of believers 
is increased, but the number of the just is 
diminished. The world is the same now as it 
was from the beginning corrupt and profligate; 
its conversion to the faith has produced no 
change in its manners and customs. When 
it entered the Church it introduced likewise 
its immorality and profaneness. Yes, true it 
is, that the land, even the land of Christianity, 
is infected by the corruption of its inhabitants ; 
all work iniquity, and seldom is there one who 
does good. All states and conditions have 
corrupted their ways ; even the lamps of Jacob 
are extinguished, the salt has lost its savour ; 
the priest has become like the people." Did 
he think that all the world was as bad or worse 
than Versailles and its surrounding ? What of 
the sanctity of the Church one of her notes ? 
In ages worse than the one in which he lived 
in those ages when kings and barons and 
Churchmen were too often anything but edify 
ing the lives of high sanctity and exalted 
holiness, led by millions, stamped them as 
"ages of faith." He then describes the sort 
of penance and penitential life which alone 
could save. Such only as we read of in the 


lives of remarkably holy men. Lives, I admit, 
which necessarily lead on to great exceptional 
sanctity, but certainly not necessary for escap 
ing the eternal fires, and saving the soul through 
the pains of purgatory. It must be admitted 
that there is a strong family likeness between 
Massillon and many other preachers and writers 
who uphold the severe opiniohs. 



THE reasons which have induced me to think 
the mildest opinion, namely, that the majority 
and, I scarcely fear to add, the great majority 
of mankind will be saved, are : ist. Because 
the study of God s character urges, if not forces, 
me to do so; 2nd. Because this opinion appears 
to make most for His greater honour and glory, 
and for the merits of Christ ; 3rd. Because the 
belief in it is better calculated to make us love 
God, and to serve Him the more from love. 

We come now to the heart of the work, to 
the arguments in favour of this mildest opinion. 
These arguments are what logicians call a 
priori, or certainly akin to them, arguments 
which lead up to a conclusion and prove it ; 
unless there be others called a posteriori, which 
weaken or destroy them, arguments from cause 
to effect. That these arguments may have 


their full and legitimate weight we must care 
fully study and understand God and His 
relations to man, as He Himself gives them 
in His own inspired Book. 

God is the Creator, the absolute Owner, and 
the Lord of all things. He upholds, directs, 
and governs all things according to that wise, 
powerful, and loving Providence which reaches 
from end to end mightily and sweetly. He 
created all things for Himself, for His own 
glory, and secures that they all fulfil this end 
after a manner in keeping with their nature, 
and according to His own wondrous ways. 
Hence, the ministering spirits in heaven adore 
Him, saying, " Thou art worthy, O Lord our 
God, to receive glory and honour and power, 
because Thou hast created all things, and for 
Thy will they were and have been created." 
And again, " Every creature which is in heaven, 
and on earth, and under the earth, and such 
as are in the sea, I heard all saying, * To Him 
who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, 
benediction, and "honour, and glory, and power 
for ever and ever. 

It is His will that all things, even His 
inanimate creatures, should do His behest 
and serve Him ; should reflect, manifest, hymn 


His praise and glory according to fixed laws 
framed by Himself. 

It is deserving of note, too, that God so 
.loves His inanimate creatures that He speaks 
of many of them with affection, as if they were 
intelligent beings, doing His word, and obeying 
Him with mind and heart. "He telleth the 
number of the stars, and calleth them all by 
their names. He sendeth forth light, and it 
goeth. He hath called it, and it obeyeth Him 
with trembling. The stars have given light 
in their watches, and rejoiced ; they were 
called, and they said here we are, and with 
cheerfulness they have shined forth to Him 
who made them." In Psalm xviii. we read, 
The heavens show forth the glory of God, 
and the firmament declareth the work of His 
hands. Day to day uttereth speech, and night 
to night showeth knowledge. There are no 
speeches nor language where their voices are 
not heard. Their sound hath gone forth in 
all the earth, and their words to the end of 
the world. He hath set His tabernacle in 
the sun, and He, as a bridegroom, coming 
out of His bridechamber, hath rejoiced as a 
giant to run his way. His going out is from 
the end of heaven, and there is no one who 


can hide himself from his heat." Cardinal 
Bellarmine, in his commentary on this psalm, 
writes : " The heavens pre-eminently, and the 
sun amongst the heavenly bodies, beyond all 
the other works of God, by their grandeur 
and beauty, make His glory known to us. 
They do so incessantly ; day to day uttereth 
speech, and night to night showeth knowledge. 
They do so to all and everywhere. There 
are no speeches nor languages where their 
voices are not heard, and their sound hath 
gone forth into all the earth, and their words 
to the end of the world. Whilst the sun, 
beautiful as the adorned bridegroom, and 
strong as a giant, rejoices to run the circuit 
of the earth and impart His gifts to every 
one." In the " Benedicite " and " Laudate," 
read every day in Lauds, all things , animate 
and inanimate, from the lowest to the 
highest, are called on to bless God, because, 
" He spoke, and they were made ; He 
commanded, and they were created." And 
here, in passing, may we not remark, as 
perhaps foreshadowing a similar truth in a 
higher order of things harmony, sequence, 
and development being marks of God s work- 
that the material inanimate world substantially 


and persistently fulfils the end of its creation. 
Sun, moon, and stars, earth and air and sea, 
dew and rain and sunshine, the regularly 
revolving seasons are and obey God s law and 
will even in this fallen world. " By Thy 
ordinance," says the Royal Psalmist, " the 
day goeth on, for all things serve Thee." 
And if there be, at times, what are commonly 
called revulsions, or rebellions of nature, they 
are the exceptions, and are, comparatively 
speaking, few and rare. 

We recognise a similar wise, powerful, 
loving, and consistent providence on the part 
of the Great Creator with reference to the 
animate, irrational world. Sheep and oxen, 
the beasts of the field, the wild and savage 
ones of the forest and jungle, the gentle, 
patient, useful camel, the birds of the air, and 
the fishes of the sea are His. He creates, 
preserves, and utilises them all for some end 
or purpose. He has given to them wondrous 
instinct for self-preservation and protection. 
" The sparrow has found for herself a house, 
and the dove a nest, where she may lay her 
young ones." The inspired writer of the Book 
of Proverbs tells -us that, "There are very little 
things of the earth which are wiser than the 


wise." He instances the ant : " Go to the ant, 
O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn 
wisdom, which, although she hath no guide, 
nor master, nor captain, provideth her meat 
for herself in the summer, and gathereth her 
food in the harvest." We read things of birds, 
the where and the how of building their nests ; 
of the doings of bees, the beaver, and other 
animals which would be incredible if not 
proved by facts. What grander ; more sublime ; 
what better suited to give us an idea of the 
magnificent greatness, the ineffable providence 
of God, than what we read in the closing- 
chapters of the Book of Job: "Then the 
Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and 
said, Gird up thy loins like a man ; I will ask, 
and answer thou Me. 

Then follows a series of questions in which 
God seems to revel in the power, wisdom, and 
love which He manifested in the creation of the 
material and animal world, and in man s incap 
ability of understanding them. 

God has kind thought, and takes great care 
of His animal world, for " the sparrow valued at 
a half-farthing shall not fall on the ground with 
out the Father, and not one of them .is forgotten 
before God." ."He maketh .-grass to. grow On 


the mountains, He giveth to the beasts their 
food, and provideth for the raven when her 
young ones cry to Him, wandering about 
because they have no meat." "He watereth 
the hills, and all the beasts shall drink, and the 
wild asses shall expect in their thirst." Is there 
not tender thought and consideration of them 
in that legislation to His chosen people which 
forbade them to plow with an ox and an ass, to 
muzzle the ox which treadeth out the corn, to 
boil the kid in the milk of the dam, or to be 
cruel in bird-nesting ? And here we may again 
note what may be the foreshadowing of a 
higher truth. This world of animate, irrational 
creatures fulfils constantly and perfectly the end 
for which it was created. It, in its own way, 
praises, glorifies, and serves God. The vast 
majority of animals, if not all, are of necessity, 
or use, or service, or recreation to man, for 
whom they were called into existence. Un 
natural monsters are very rare. The dangerous, 
wild, and savage animals are comparatively few ; 
they live away from man, and if harm come 
from them, it is to the few who, from motives 
of trade or sport, become the aggressors and 
expose themselves to it. 
But these two worlds, magnificent creations 


of God, were called into existence and kept true 
to their purpose for the sake of a being of a far 
higher order and of a far nobler nature than 
any or all of them, for Man. In the words 
of St. Ignatius, " All the other things on the 
face of the earth were created for man s sake, in 
order to aid him in the prosecution of the end 
for which he was created," which end is " To 
praise, reverence, and serve God, and by this 
means to save his soul." Created for man s 
sake ! For man ! made by God to His own 
image and likeness, made little less than the 
angels, made, in a true sense, the Lord of 
creation, because God has subjected all things 
under His feet that He may use them in working- 
out the grandest and highest destiny possible 
to a creature : the service, first, for the moment 
of this life, and then the eternal, face-to-face 
possession of God. 

We should therefore be prepared, without 
further proof, for a wiser, more powerful, and 
more loving providence of a higher order, in 
keeping with this higher being, than that which 
so successfully directs and governs the in 
animate and irrational worlds. Cardinal Bel- 
armine, in one of his expositions of the Psalms, 
writes : " David records God s providence in 


regard of the beasts and the birds in order to 
let man see that he will never be forsaken by 
God in His providence. God, who so bount 
eously feeds beasts and ravens, will never desert 
those who are made to His own image and 

But we have higher testimony to this truth, 
nay, the very highest, because divine. Is not 
such our Lord s reasoning and conclusions as 
we have them in His Sermon on the Mount- 
" Behold the birds of the air : for they neither 
sow nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, 
and your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are 
not you of much more value than they?" 
"Are not five sparrows sold for four farthings, 
and not one of them is forgotten before God ? 
Fear not, therefore : you are of more value 
than many sparrows." " Consider the lilies of 
the field how they grow ; they labour not, 
neither do they spin ; but I say to you that 
not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed 
as one of these. And if the grass of the field, 
which is to-day and to-morrow is cast into the 
oven, God doth so clothe, how much more you, 
O ye of little faith ? " 

God is the Creator of all men, of Jew and 
Gentile, Greek and Barbarian, of the wild, 


ignorant savage, as well as of the civilised and 
cultured Christian. A creator He Himself tells 
us, " who lovest all things that are, and hatest 
none of,, the things He has created, who did not 
appoint or make anything, hating it." " It is 
sweet to think," writes Father Faber,,." of the 
web of love which God is hourly weaving round 
every soul He has created on earth. It en 
larges the heart to think how round every soul 
of man He is weaving this web of love. The 
busy European, the silent Oriental, the venture 
some American, the gross Hottentot, the 
bewildered Australian, the dark-souled Malay. 
He comes to all. He has His own way, with 
each, but with all it is a way of tenderness, for 
bearance, and lavish generosity. The variety 
of their circumstances and these are well nigh 
numberless are not so many as the varieties of 
his sedulous affection. The biography of each 
of those souls is a miraculous history of God s 
goodness. If we could read them, as probably 
the Blessed can, we should see Him winding 
invisible threads of light and love even round 
the ferocious idolater; we should see him dealing 
with cases of the most brutal wickedness, 
the most fanatical delusion, the most, stolid 
insensibility, and even for these arranging 


all things with the exquisite delicacy of creative 

God the Creator is a being of infinite 
intelligence, is an infinitely intellectual being, 
and must therefore have had some good end 
and purpose in creating man, whom He has 
made to partake of His own intelligence. He 
tells us this end and purpose in express terms, 
and we have it constantly kept before us in the 
mutual relations between God the Creator and 
man the creature, as we read of them in holy 
Scripture. God could not give up certain rights 
which are His as Creator, nor can man rid him 
self of certain obligations strictly due by him as 
creature to the Creator. "To His own praise 
and glory God created and formed and made 
man." Man is " to adore the Lord his God, 
and to serve Him only." Man is " to love and 
serve the Lord his God with his whole heart, 
and soul, and mind, and strength." Man is 
bound to worship God, as revealed to him, by 
certain religious acts, and to serve Him by 
respecting, obeying, and doing His will as 
manifested in His laws and commandments 
promulgated to him. This is the " whole man " 
for his day of probation here on earth. The 
possession and glory of God in Heaven is his 


eternal reward. Cardinal Newman, in one of 
his sermons, " God s Will the end of Life/ states 
this truth in simple but striking words : " Realise 
it, my brethren. Everyone who breathes, high 
and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, 
man and woman, has a mission, has a work. 
We are not sent into this world for nothing. 
We are not born at random. We are not here 
that we may go to bed at night and get up in 
the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, 
laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and 
reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a 
family, and die. God sees everyone of us, He 
creates every soul, He lodges it in the body one 
by one for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to 
need, everyone of us. He has an end for each 
of us. We are all equal in His sight, and we 
are all placed in our different ranks and stations 
not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, 
but to labour in them for Him. As Christ has 
His work, we too have ours ; as He rejoiced to 
do His work, we must rejoice in ours also." 

God who created all men, civilised and sav 
age, for such an end, and commanded them to 
attain it, could not leave them without the 
means which, if rightly used, would enable them 
to do so. These means would be, as a matter 



of course, suited to the state and condition in 
which men : would find themselves placed by the 
providence of God. A written law for some, 
for others a law written on the heart, and, for 
all, grace by which they could observe the law. 
Although the question of God s will to save 
all men, without exception, will be considered 
more fully further on, still, in view of a con 
clusion to which attention is about to be called, 
it is well to premise tjiat. the most learned 
theologians lay down and prove the following 
proposition : That God really and sincerely 
wishes the salvation of all men, because He is 
the Creator of all Men. Cardinal Franzelin 
proves this proposition first from holy Scripture ; 
His principal argument is taken from the 
opening verses of the second chapter of St. 
Paul s first epistle to Timothy, in which occur 
the words, " Who will have all men to be saved 
because there is one God." He strengthens 
his arguments by citing those texts found in 
the Epistle to the Romans, in which fche apostle 
speaks of no distinction between Jew and 
Gentile, Jew and Greek : "Is He, the God of 
the Jews only ? yes, of the Gentiles also, for 
the same is Lord over all." He concludes this 
proof as follows : " According to St. Paul s 


doctrine, the first, and in itself sufficient reason 
why God wishes all men to be saved, is because 
He is the God of all men. No man, therefore, 
is excepted, unless there be men of whom the 
one only true God is not God, which would 
lead , on to the error of the Gnostics that 
there were two Gods, one of the spiritual, the 
other of the animal and earthly man." 

He then shows that the Fathers of the 
Church held "that God wishes all men to be 
saved, because He is the Creator of all men." 
In. the words of St. Ambrose, " God wishes all 
whom He made and created to be saved : 
would to God, O men, that you would not fly 
and hide yourself from Him ; but even if you do 
He seeks you, and does not wish you to perish/ 
And another Father says, " The one God 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is God of all 
men, and therefore desires to save all men 
whom He created." Whilst a host of them 
declare that God, on His part, wishes to en 
lighten, justify, and save all men whom He has 

I think we may fairly take as proved or 
granted the following truths : i. That God, 
because He is the Creator of each man, takes 
a personal interest in him, keeps him ever in 


mind, and has dealings with him. Holy and 
learned men have not feared to say, and to 
justify their saying, as well they can, by 
Scripture, that He thinks of and is concerned 
about each of us, as if there were none others 
in the world to claim His attention ; 2. That 
He, because Creator of each man, sincerely 
wishes to save each man ; 3. That for this 
very purpose of saving each He has a provid 
ence which His infinite wisdom designed and 
directs, which His infinite power enables, and 
His infinite love urges Him tQ carry out. To 
carry out in varied ways His own ways, often 
strange, secret, mysterious, upholding His own 
rights ; and man s right also, if I may call it 
such, that his free will be not ignored nor 
violently oppressed. To anyone keeping those 
truths well in mind it must, I think, appear 
more probable that this providence will be, in 
the main, a success rather than a failure ; that a 
providence infinitely wise, powerful, and loving 
will be more effective for carrying out God s 
wish for the salvation of man, than the finite 
powers of evil in man and devil, for his damna 
tion. More probable that though many can 
and will fight God to the end and be lost, they 
will be fewer far than those whom He will 


tenderly, and in His own way, bring home to 
Himself. Yet, if the majority, the great 
majority of mankind, Catholics included, be 
lost, must we not admit, what appears in 
credible, that God s magnificent providence 
and economy, with reference to His noble 
creature, man, is a failure ; nay more, that God 
Himself as Creator of man is, humanly speak 
ing, substantially a failure, though a success in 
His two creations of a lower order, the inani 
mate and irrational. 

We know something about God s general 
ways of dealing with the children of the Church, 
and a little perhaps of His special dealings with 
a few souls outside our own. But what do we 
know in general or in particular of His dealings 
with Jew, Gentile, Greek, Barbarian, the silent 
Oriental, the gross Hottentot, the dark-souled 
Malay? And yet these are the works of His 
hands, and the subjects of His providence, as 
well as Christians and Catholics. God is no 
acceptor or respecter of persons. He will not 
save a man simply because he is Christian, 
or a noble, or a scholar ; nor cast off a man 
because he is a pagan, a slave, or an ignorant 
naked savage. He Himself tells us that He 
" will not accept any man s person, neither will 


He stand in awe of any man s greatness, for 
He made the little and the great, and hath 
equally care of all." Saint Peter in one of his 
sermons, and Saint -Paul in his Epistle to the 
Romans, are decided on this point, and 
used it to quiet and check the proud bragging 
of the Jews. Each man will stand or fall on 
his own personal merits or demerits as judged 
by God. 

If the upholders of the two severe rigorous 
opinions ask me, in what way God " weaves His 
web of love " about every soul He has created, 
even about souls which look to the human eye 
outcast, I answer at once, It is His secret, I 
do not know. But if they ask me why I 
believe He does, I answer without fear; Because 
His character, as Creator of all men, clearly 
revealed in Scripture, and - formulated by- 
eminent theologians, oblige me to think so. I 
would then be tempted to ask them what 
reasons they have for thinking and saying 
plainly, " All infidels are damned on account of 
their infidelity." " The great majority of man 
kind is lost, because infidels, heretics, etc., 
always made the majority." That in a word 
the Creator, as well as Judge, will say, " Depart 
from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire " to the 

v / .V.... 


whole mass of unbelievers, etc., as well as 
according to some to the majority of Catholics. 
I can only find two reasons some texts, types, 
or parables of Scripture, which do not in any 
way prove their most ; dismal r views, and the 
external bad aspect of the world, which is at 
best misleading, and which certainly cannot 
limit or interfere with the universal secret 
action of God by grace in the souls which He 
has created. "We may depend iipon it," 
writes Father Faber, " that in a thousand spots 
which- -look desert, waste, fir6-blackened, God s 
mercy is "finding pasture for His glory." 




GOD is not only the Creator but the Father of 
all men, without any exception. " The Father 
who," to use His own words, " made and 
created and possess them." He has com 
manded us to address Him by this title, 
" Our Father who art in heaven." All 
Christians do so ; and a preacher, in his 
opening instructions, would teach and exhort 
the untutored savage to believe in and speak 
to Him as such. 

As I naturally desire that anyone who may 
read this plea for the mildest opinion, should 
take in and understand the arguments in its 
favour, I may be pardoned the following 
remarks : God in Scripture and the soundest 
writers use parables, homely illustrations, 
figures of speech, etc., in describing and 
developing God s nature and character. Now 


it is to be feared that we read these, even the 
beautiful Scripture parables, as we would a 
fairy story, a novel, or look at a good picture. 
We say, perhaps, it is beautiful, interesting, 
instructive, but we practically forget that it is 
meant to tell us and impress on us, by its 
attractive or striking form, a great truth, a 
great reality. It is true that parables were 
sometimes used so Bacon tells us as a mask 
and veil as well as for elucidation and illustra 
tion, that is used to conceal or hide the truth 
from some who were not worthy nor fitted to 
receive it, as well as to illustrate or to prove a 
truth to others. Saint Basil speaks of the 
parable as " a profitable discourse with that 
moderate degree of concealment which shall 
provoke, not such as shall repel or defeat 
inquiry." " Our Lord," says Saint Chrysostom, 
" spoke in parables in order to arouse and 
excite, diving down into the deep sea of 
spiritual knowledge, from thence to fetch up 
pearls and precious stones." Saint Jerome, a 
high, if not the highest, authority in Scripture 
matters, puts it more simply when he says, 
" Parables were used in order that what the 
hearers cannot retain, if it be presented to them 
as a mere precept, may be retained by simili^ 


tude or example." They not only instruct, but 
in doing so excite the imagination and feelings 
in so striking or attractive a way, that what was 
so taught becomes more fixed in the memory. 
" Parables," writes Dr. Trench, "are not merely 
illustrations, but also proof; they witness to the 
truth and are arguments." For whatever is 
really good in an earthly king, master, or 
father, is eminently, but as truly so in God, 
the King of kings, Lord of lords, " The 
Father of whom all paternity in heaven and 
earth is named." 

God is the Father of all men not one 
excepted and being God He must tie a 
perfect Father. But more, He tells us that 
He is such. He thinks of each of us. We 
are always before Him, written on His handsi 
and dear to Him as the apple of His eye. In 
the inspired book of Ecclesiasticus He speaks of 
l< the father who waketh for the daughter when 
no man knoweth, and the care of her taketh 
away his sleep, when she is young, lest she pass 
away in the flower of her age." He speaks 
of the mother s love "which cannot allow her 
to forget the son of her womb." He takes 
here the love of earthly father for daughter, 1 
and of mother for son a love which is, of all 


earthly loves, the strongest, the most unselfish, 
the most self-sacrificing, the most untiring, and 
the purest; and then tells us that His love for 
His children is greater. " Can a woman forget 
her infant so as not to have pity on the son 
of her womb ? and if she should forget, yet will 
not I forget thee." 

Our Lord, in His Sermon on the Mount, 
reasons from the love of the Heavenly Father 
for the birds and the lilies to His much greater 
love and care of us, His children ; and adds, " If 
you men being evil know how to give good 
gifts to your children, how much more will your 
Father who is in heaven give good things to 
them who ask Him;" and, again, when urging 
the command of loving our enemies, He gives 
as a reason for doing so "that we may be the 
children of our Father who is in heaven, who 
maketh His sun to rise on the good and bad, 
and raineth upon the just and the unjust." 

God is the Father of all men, and eminently 
a perfect Father. Now a perfect father could 
not of himself place himself in a wrong position 
with one of his children. He could not, of 
himself, give one of them a stone in place of 
bread, nor a scorpion in place of an egg. Nay 
more, he could not even permit anything to 


happen to them with the intention or necessary 
result that it should really harm them even 
their trials sent by Him should be for their 
good if they only rightly receive and bear them. 
We could not imagine such a father casting 
out, expelling from his home for ever a child, 
until he had tried the proper means to keep 
him with himself until the child deserts him, 
or, by wilful, obstinate, persistent disobedience 
to his father s will, necessitates his own 
expulsion. Such a father will do all he well j 
can for the welfare of his children do every 
thing short of violence to enable his children 
to succeed in all that is for his own and their 
good. The dominant desire wish will of 
such a father must be to make his children 
happy ; his dominant dread and horror, that 
one of them should be unhappy. Now God 
being such a Father, and willing the eternal 
happiness of His children, must, according to 
His providence, give them the means of 
securing it. 

The thoroughly fatherly character of God 
manifests itself best in His own declared manner 
of dealing with His bad, rebellious, sinful 
children. Sin is the only evil, and mortal 
sin- is the greatest evil. We meditating on 


mortal sin as spiritual writers, particularly 
Saint Ignatius, put it before us, can get some 
idea of what an awful and horrible thing it is. 
But God alone is capable of fully understanding 
its moral filth, malice, and turpitude. He speaks 
of it as outrage, contempt, insult, ingratitude of 
the basest kind offered to Himself. " You con 
temned Me, you despised Me, you turned your 
back on Me and went after other lovers ; " 
When I filled your hands with good things, 
you said, Go away from me ; " " You made Me 
serve you in your sins, and you wearied Me 
with your iniquities." God speaks of sin and 
the sinner, as one keenly sensitive to and 
acutely feeling the malice of it and of him 
who commits it. He cannot now, it is true, 
personally feel the indignity put upon Him, 
nor can it be the cause or occasion of unhappi- 
ness to Him, because dying once He dieth no 
more, and because of the essential blessedness 
of His divine nature. Still, we should bear 
well in mind that He once paid its full penalty 
in the greatest sufferings a human being could 
endure. Besides, the malice of mortal sin is not 
in its outraging, hurting, or making miserable 
the being whose law it violates, but in the wilf 
of the sinner. Suppose a child deliberately 


makes a blow from behind at his father, or a 
subject at his king. He misses ; it is hushed 
up. The father or king is not made the least 
unhappy, because they never hear of it. Yet 
the son or subject is as guilty before God and 
man just as he would be had he killed one 
or the other. God also requires reparation, 
and inflicts punishment for sin as if it were 
a personal injury or pain to Himself. What 
greater Evidence of the malice of mortal sin 
could Go4 have given than the just creation 
of hell to punish it, and the mysteriously awful 
atonement which He required and made for. it? 
Yet,, .such, being mortal sin, it is most remark-, 
able the hankering and longing of the Great 
Father after the worst sinners, and the very 
easy "terms , on which He forgives and takes 
them back again and again to His heart. 
They can forget that they are His children, 
but He cannot forget that He is their Father. 
" A,s I, live," He says, " I desire not the death 
of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from 
his way and live." And fearing, as it were, 
that His sinful children would lose hope saying. 
The just He will hear, but who are we to call 
on Him, surely He will not hear us ? He again 
arid_again, not merely commands, but, humanly 


speaking, He humbles Himself to beg, crave, 
implore them to turn to Him, to call upon 
Him, and that if they do so with repentant 
hearts, He will forgive them ; " That if their 
sins were as scarlet they shall be made white 
as snow/ and if they be red as crimson they 
shall be made white as: wool." He cries to 
them like one who could hot be happy without 
them. The whole-hearted readiness and joy 
with which again and again He pardoned the 
Jewish people, is more notable than the chas 
tisements which He inflicted when they sinned. 
He not only tells His sinful children that He 
is gracious, and sweet, and patient, and merciful 
and long-suffering, but He warns them against 
a danger which would be in the end fatal to 
them, namely, that because of His patient, long- 
suffering ways, they should be tempted to pre 
sume and sin on to the end. " Say not, I have 
sinned, and what harm has happened to me." 
" Delay not to be converted, put not off your 
coversion from day to day, saying, The Lord is 
merciful and He will have mercy on the multi 
tude of my sins." Like a good father, He 
hopes long and "has mercy upon all, and over- 
looketh the sins of men for the sake of repent 
ance, and spareth. all becausd they are His who 


loveth souls." We see by these texts and 
others that God knew that His patient, merciful, 
hopeful bearing with sinners would be a tempta 
tion to them a temptation to run their sinful, 
against His merciful, course, and by doing so to 
lose their souls. Hence He not only warns 
them against it, but tries to touch the hearts 
of such reckless children by telling them that 
He acts so through love to owe them the 

o o 

longest day for repentance, " dealing," as He 
says, "patiently with them for their own sake, 
not willing that any should perish, but that all 
should return to penance." 

We see still more plainly God s fatherly 
longing after His sinful children, in the easy 
terms on which He forgives them. Let me 
suppose one who has committed countless 
mortal sins of the blackest dye. What must 
he do to get pardon for them all ? First, 
he must ask grace pray ; and here let us 
remember that the grace of prayer is refused 
to no one, or rather is given to all. Also that 
prayer speaking to God is the easiest thing 
in the way of speaking easier than speaking 
with man, because God, being always present 
with us, is the easiest person to speak to in this 
world. He asks of God in a few sincere words 


the grace to repent a grace which cannot be 
refused, as it is, beyond all doubt, rie of those 
good things which, if rightly asked, must be given 
by the Father. He uses this grace in making a 
true supernatural act of contrition a minute s 
work, and all his sins are forgiven as to their 
guilt. If he die after such an act, he cannot be 
lost for ever, though he most probably, and 
most justly, may have a very long and painful 
purgatory. More wonderful stiM, all guilt and 
punishment are remitted . to the unbaptized 
pagan who makes an act of attrition and 
receives the sacrament of baptism, or an act 
of contrition when the reception of this rite 
may be impossible. Our, Lord tells us how 
easy and swift true repentance can be in the 
case of the publican the notorious and typical 
sinner who by making an act of sorrow for his 
sins, in seven words, went home to his house 

Let the worst sinner that ever lived a 
Catholic, I supposei-4ask grace and make a 
good confession not an hour s work, perhaps 
or an act of contrition with the intention of 
going to Confession, and all his sins are for 
given as to their guilt. May we not suppose 
that the divine Teacher suggested God s patient, 


long - suffering, merciful, hopeful disposition 
towards the worst of His children when, in 
answer to Peter s question, " How often shall 
my brother sin against me, and I forgive him, 
till seven times ? " He said, " I say not to thee 
seven times ? but seventy times seven times," 
particularly as He elsewhere exhorts men to 
forgive their enemies, that they may be the 
children of their Father who showers His gifts 
on the bad as well as on the good. 

The great Father forgives His sinful children 
again and again on terms which seem to be the 
easiest that would be consistent with what is 
due to His own honour and to their good. His 
way of acting contrasts in a very marked way 
with that of man. A man sins against his 
fellow-man or against the law of the land in 
some grave matter. He is arrested, brought 
(and justly so) into public court, disgraced, and 
punished ; and this for his first crime ! A man 
sins against the great God, violates His law a 
thousand times, and God forgives him on the 
easy terms mentioned above : and, in doing so, 
most tenderly and considerately protects his 
character by the most solemn seal of confession, 
and inflicts on him no public nor humiliating 
penance. God is far more ready and generous 


in forgiving the worst than men, even good 
men, are in forgiving each other, and bad would 
it be for the best of us if He were not. 

We can solve this mystery of His wonderful 
mercy on perhaps only one principle, namely, 
that He so sincerely and really desires the 
salvation of all His children, and so dreads the 
loss of even one, and this the worst, that He 
makes reconciliation with Himself as easy as 
He well could. 

Now, keeping in mind that God is the Father, 
the perfect Father, of all men of the poor out 
cast ignorant savage, as He is of the most 
refined and best instructed Catholic, a Father 
who created them for Himself, who gives them 
grace to fulfil this end by avoiding sin and 
observing His law as promulgated to them, and 
who takes them back, no matter how much they 
may have sinned, so freely and so kindly what 
should be our first, most logical conclusion? Is 
it that the majority, the vast majority, of His 
children are lost to such a Father, lost for ever 
against His wish and will, and lost in that hell, 
where the fire is never extinguished and thd 
worm dieth not ? Is it that God, infinitely wise, 
powerful, and loving, is as a Father, humanly 
speaking, a great failure, as He is not when 


birds of the air and lilies of the field are con 
cerned? I think not, but rather that most of 
them, if not all, are saved ; according to means 
and ways in keeping with His fatherly provid 
ence, and sidted to the states and circumstances 
in which He had placed them. 

I do not wish to ignore an objection which 
may occur to some. God is called in Scripture 
King, and Lord, and Master. True, but He 
is oftener styled Father. Being God, He must 
be : a*perfect king, lord, master. He is there 
fore rrot only just and righteous, but thought- 
ful, kind, considerate, and helpful towards His 
subjects arid servants. Besides, His fatherly 
characteristics can never be idle nor absent, 
as these are His children as well. He is also 
spoken of as the Mighty, the Terrible, the 
Avenger, the infinitely Just \ who will judge 
justice. True, but let it not be forgotten 
that "God is Love" by the very essence of 
His nature, and that He loved from eternity, 
long before he had to exercise justice or inflict 
punishment. Hell, someone has said, is not the 
natural outcome of God, because God is Love. 
It was forced upon Him by the deliberate action 
of His subjects. God could not of Himself, of 
His own pure will, place Himself in the position 


of the terrible, avenging, and punishing judge ; 
but man can and does at times oblige Him to 
take such a position. We ourselves, of our own 
free will, can do wrong, and then blame God for 
the consequences of it. 

Love is, by its very nature, generous and 
diffusive, and its. fruits are kindness, tenderness, 
considerateness, and mercy; while the reasons 
which oblige God to exercise His justice ar$ 
to be found not in Him, but in man, who wilt 
fully provokes it! In any case, His mercy is 
more extolled in Scripture than His justice, 
and this is spoken of as largely tempered with 
mercy. " His mercies," He tells us, "are from 
the beginning of the world, and all His ways 
are mercy ;. Hismerby is magnified even to 
the heavens, and is greai above the heavens. 
He is sweet, and mild, and plenteous in 
mercy, and His mef-cy is upon all flesh. 
His tender mercies; and loving-kindnesses have 
been for ever." He also tells His children 
how considerate He is, how He pities and com 
passionates, taking everything for as well as 
against, making large allowances for them on 
account of the weakness and corruption of their 
nature, when He says, " As a father hath com 
passion on his children, so hath He upon us, 


because He knows what we are made of, 
because He remembereth that we are dust." 

Could children be safer than in the hands of 
such a Father; His eye never off them, His 
arms always around them ? Is it not most 
probable that such a Father will, in His own 
ways, bring home and have with Him in His 
heavenly house the majority of His children, 
and that those who wilfully fight and reject His 
loving overtures all through to the end will be 
comparatively few. 

By way of showing the effect which can be 
produced by the very thought of God our Father, 
and belief in Him as such, I may give a fact 
told to me by the person concerned, now dead 
for some years. He fell into a state akin to 
despair about his salvation. A Confessor, to 
whom he opened his mind, told him to go, take 
his Bible, and write out all the texts in which 
God calls Himself his Father. He did so, and 
was blessed with calm and peace before he had 
written twenty. 




WE have, however, more convincing arguments 
for the mildest opinion than those already 
adduced. Could the great Creator and Father 
of all men prove, in a clearer, stronger, and 
more attractive manner, His real sincere desire 
to save all men, and to give them all the means 
of salvation, than He does in the wise, powerful, 
and loving work and economy of the Incarna 
tion? " God so loved the world as to give His 
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in 
Him may not perish, but may have life everlast 
ing." " For God sent not His Son into the world 
to judge the world, but that the world may be 
saved by Him." " The Son of Man came not 
to destroy souls, but to save." " By this truth 
the charity of God appeared towards us, because 
God hath sent His only begotten Son into the 
world to be a propitiation for our sins, and not 


for ours only, but for those also of the whole 
world." And Saint John concludes that we 
ought all to love each other from the fact that 
God so loved us. 

In passing, - 1 may^ allude to an objection 
suggested by the words of our Lord as given 
above : ".That whosoever believeth in Him 
may not perish, but may have life everlasting,"- 
an objection which is used as an argument by 
the advocates of the severest opinion. One 
gives as va. reason for holding this opinion: 
" Because^ infidels, heretics, etc., were always in 
the majority;" another says, " All infidels are 
damned on account of their infidelity ; " another, 
" Out of that immense multitude of people who 
know no God, none are saved." In a word, 
they seem to.; state boldly that all non-Christians, 
and all who: have not the catholic faith in Christ, 
are, as a matter of course, lost. Could any 
well-instructed Catholic admit such a conclusion? 
Is such a conclusion according to. the teaching 
or spirit of the Church?; The objection may 
perhaps be answered as follows :^-Just as a 
certain belief in our Lord will not necessarily 
secure salvation, for does He not Him 
self say, " Not every one who sayeth Lord ! 
Lord ! will enter into the kingdom of heaven ; " 


and again, "Many will say to Me in that 
day, Lord ! Lord ! have we not prophesied in 
Thy name, cast out devils in Thy name, 
worked miracles in Thy name? to whom He 
will answer, I never knew you, depart from 
Me," so a certain want of belief in Him 
may not necessitate damnation. There is 
such a thing as implicit faith in our Lord 
which they, who have never heard of Him, can 
have. Is there anyone rash or cruel enough 
to assert that all who, without personal fault 
of their own, never heard of Christ, that all 
to whom His gospel was never preached, are, 
as a matter of course, simply on this account 
lost? It is to be feared -that some Catholic 
writers and preachers, on this subject, were 
so dazzled by the great light within the Church, 
so absorbed in the exceptional privileges which 
God gives her children, that they could see 
nothing but darkness, and x the absence of God 
outside her. * 

To return to our Argument, What is the 
attitude of our Lorcl-with reference to the all- 
saving work, fon the doing of which His 
heavenly Father sent Him, and to which He 
gave Himself with all His heart? 




To understand this fully we must thoughtfully 
and reverently study the character of our Lord, 
Christ the Saviour. It is well to do so first, 
because it will bring home, or help to do so, 
the power of an argument which appears to me, 
at least, the most convincing in favour of the 
mildest opinion ; secondly, because it is a study 
which too many Catholics and Christians 
neglect or make in a very superficial way. It 
is again the fairy story, the novel, the pleasing 
picture. We read of Him, look on Him, and 
say we cannot help saying His is a very 
beautiful and lovable character; and there it 
ends. He is not with many who believe in 
Him a great the greatest reality : a reality 
which makes Him a great supernatural power, 
always actively at work in their lives ; a power 
\mder the influence of which they, as it were, 


instinctively shrink from offending Him, resolve 
to do His holy will, and to model their lives 
according to His, even at the cost of self-denial 
and mortification. 

Saint Ignatius bids us ask as graces pre 
paratory and suited to meditations on the life 
of our Lord first, an intimate knowledge of 
Jesus Christ. Not a mere superficial looking 
on Him. An intimate knowledge, that I may 
know Him from the very centre of His heart 
put ; His little as well as His great ways. An 
intimate knowledge that I may have grand 
magnificent thoughts, and be able to discourse 
eloquently about Him. Yes, if you will, but I 
am not to rest here, bad for me if I did. " An 
intimate knowledge," says the Saint, "that I 
may love Him the more." If we know Him 
we must love Him, because He is essentially 
lovable, and the more intimately we know Him 
the more we shall love Him. But again, am I 
to rest in this love, having warm and affec 
tionate feelings towards Him, and expressing 
them in an earnest and loving way ? No, I 
must go farther. "That I may love Him the 
more, and imitate Him the more." 

It is easy to have thoughts and feelings 
about our Lord, and to put them into words 


compa red to the work of imitating Him. 
Easy to think and easy to speak of Him, but 
not only not easy, but hard to flesh and blood 
to be, as He always was, meek and humble 
df heart, patient, resigned to die crosses of 
life, forgiving and merciful towards enemies, 
obedient unto death, and all this when we 
have strong temptations to the contrary. If 
we do good things for God, which cost us 
nothing, or are a pleasure, saluting those who 
salute us, loving those who love us, we are not 
without our reward, but they are, in themselves, 
no sure proof of love. We have this only when 
we do or bear things naturally hard for love 
of Him, or because He wills and wishes them ; 
to be- true to our Lord, by imitating Him in 
trying circumstances, is the only unfailing test 
of true love. 

OUF Lord tells us this when He says, "If 
anyone wish to be My disciple, he must take 
up his cross and follow" imitate Me, and "if 
he do not do this he cannot be My disciple, , 
when He says, " If any man love Me, he 
will keep My commandments.". To know the 
commandments by rote to talk about and evea 
explain them, is easy ; the hard and difficult 
thing, and therefore the proof of love, is to 


keep them. We Catholics, who know Him, 
are Abound to imitate Him, each in his own 
state ; to imitate Him in our manner of bear- 
jng the crosses of life. If we do not do so we 
fe Christians only in name shams and deceits, 
r hence that saying of Saint Malachy, "In 
vain am I a Christian if I imitate not Christ.." 
And when our Lord wished to give to all men 
and to all time a proof that He really 
loved His Father, He gives it in His readi 
ness to accept and endure the sufferings which 
His Father willed. That the world may 
know that I love the Father, and as the Father 
hath given Me commandment, so do I ; arise, 
let us go hence," whither? to take the first 
step on that road which led to and ended 
on Calvary. 

As an attraction and help to the study of 
Christ, the Saviour and Model of all men 
a study as delightful as it is instructive we 
have His life vividly pictured to us in the Old 
and New Testaments - with the most perfect 
harmony between them His life, written, I 
may say, by Himself. In the Old He, rises 
before us to the sound of the prophet s lyre, 
and His character and mission are generally 
Described in the poetic imagery and sublime 


language special to their office. In the New; 
He walks this earth, a man Himself, the seen 
of man, fulfilling to the letter, in the hard facts 
of His life, all that was predicted and foretold 
of Him. We have, first of all, texts of the Old 
which throw much light upon His character 
and mission, which are of special interest, and 
have the double stamp of revelation, because 
they are declared by Himself, or by the 
inspired writers of the New, to have been 
spoken of Him of Him to whom the law 
and the prophets give testimony. 

An intimate friend, now dead, of the late 
Cardinal Newman told me that His Eminence 
attached great importance to this as a proof 
of the divinity of our Lord and His divine 
mission. The books of the old law certainly 
existed hundreds of years before the Coming of 
Christ, and they were most religiously kept and 
most sacredly guarded against corruption or 
interpolation. No one but God could have 
inspired the Messianic prophecies, and have 
sent, when the fulness of time came, a person 
to fulfil them. Our Lord did fulfil them, not 
only to prove that He was the heaven-sent 
Messiah, but also the Son of God, God Himself, 
because equal to and one with the Father. 



Let us consider those prophecies and their 

How boldly does Christ proclaim His all- 
saving character and mission in His interview 
with the disciples of the Baptist, as narrated in 
the Gospel of Saint Matthew : " Now when John 
had heard in prison the works of Christ, send 
ing two of his disciples, he said to Him, " Art 
thou He who art to come, or look we for 
another?" And Jesus making answer, said 
to them, Go and relate to John what you have 
heard and seen ; the blind see, the lame walk, 
the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the 
dead live again, the poor have the gospel 
preached to them ; and blessed is he that shall 
not be scandalised in Me." Here He cites 
two well-known Messianic prophecies of Isaias, 
chapters xxxv. and li., and then asserts, or 
rather proves, He is the man, He says He 
is, because He had fulfilled them. He also 
explains the nature and end of His saving 
mission. It was to be given note well if not 
exclusively, most specially compassionately and 
helpfully to those who most needed it to the 
poor, the afflicted, the suffering, the leprous, 
the dead of body and of soul. 

In, the Psalm xxxix., the title of which is, 


" Christ s coming and redeeming mankind," 
the inspired Psalmist places upon the lips of 
the eternal Son 0f :u God the following words, 
which Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, 
chapter x., cites as said by our Lord "when 
He cometh into the world": "Sacrifice and 
oblation Thou wouldst not, but a body Thou 
hast fitted to Me. * Holocausts for sin did not 
please; then said 4, Behold, I come. In the 
head of the book -it is written of Me that I 
should do Thy will ;.. O my God, I have desired 
it, and Thy law is in the midst of my heart." 
These words express the most generous, the most 
unselfish, the most awful oblation ever made, 
if we consider who He is that makes it, and 
to what He commits Himself by doing so. 
An oblation by which the eternal Son of God, 
through love of His Father s [will, offered 
Himself, with all His heart because He wished 
it, to the work which He knew would please 
Him. And this will and work, what were 
they? That He, the very God Himself, should 
take our lowly nature, humble and empty 
Himself, taking the form of a servant, and 
become obedient to death, even the death of 
the Cross. And why this ? That He might 
in the most powerful, striking, and effective way, 


because by the most terrible sufferings, agony, 
and death ever endured, satisfy the longing of 
His father and His own for the salvation of 
all men, without even one exception. 

Again, Isaias, chapter xlii., entitled " The 
office of Christ, the preaching of the gospel 
to the Gentiles," describes our Lord as He 
should be when He would come to save the 
world ; and Saint Matthew, chapter xii., cites the 
prophecy as fulfilled by Him: "Behold My 
servant, whom I have chosen ; My beloved, 
in whom My soul is well pleased : I will put 
My Spirit upon Him, and He shall show forth 
judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not con 
tend, nor cry out ; neither shall anyone hear 
His voice in the street. The bruised reed 
He shall not break, the smoking flax He shall 
not quench, till He send forth judgment unto 
victory." We have here the characteristics 
which ought to mark one who comes to re 
deem, sanctify, and save fellow-man ; a man 
Himself, but of power, because beloved of God 
and filled with His Spirit, and yet, withal, 
gentle, humble, and meek ; considerate, tender, 
and merciful towards all, even towards the 
benighted and ignorant Gentiles. 

Perhaps one of the most interesting and 


striking, if not dramatic,, scenes in the life of our 
Lord is that told us by Saints Matthew and 
Luke. He entered, one Sabbath day, the syna 
gogue of Nazareth, " where He was brought up, 
and faced a congregation of His fellow-townsmen 
and women, who, though they could not but 
admire His wisdom and miracles, still made 
little of Him, saying: "Is not this the car 
penter s son ? is not His mother called Mary ? 
and His brethren, James, and Joseph, and 
Simon, and Jude ? And His sisters, are they not 
all with us? Whence, therefore, hath He all 
those things ? And they were scandalised in 
His regard." Truly a prophet without honour 
as He told them in His own country. Yet 
boldly " He rose up to read, and unfolding 
the book of Isaias,- found the place where it 
was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon 
Me, therefore He hath annointed Me to preach 
the gospel to the poor ; He hath sent Me to 
heal the contrite of heart, to preach deliverance 
to the captives, and sight to the blind ; to set at 
liberty them that are bruised, to preach the 
acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of 
reward. And when He had folded the book, 
He restored it to the minister and sat down. 
And the eyes of all were fixed on Him, and He 


began to say to them, This day is fulfilled this 
Scripture in your ears/ -Fulfilled in Himself. 
Mark well, the mission for which He had been 
consecrated and sent was, in a very special sense, 
if not exclusively to the poor, the afflicted, the 
oppressed, to the enslaved of soul and body. 

But the prophecy which throws the fullest 
light on the character and mission of Christ, 
the Saviour of all men, is that which places 
Him before us as the one Shepherd set up by 
God to rule His flock. There is much in the 
word Shepherd, as it is used in all writings- 
sacred and profane. It supposes the perfec 
tion of a ruler, vigilant, watchful, protective, 
yet, at the same time, tender, compassionate, 
and merciful. The prophet Ezekiel, chapter 
xxxiv., gives us, first, God s lament over His 
flock, " scattered, wandering on every mountain 
and hill, the prey of all the beasts of the field "; 
for, as another inspired writer says, " We all 
like sheep had gone astray." And then He 
adds, "Thus saith the Lord God, I Myself will 
seek My sheep, and will visit them. As the 
shepherd visiteth his sheep, so will I visit My 
sheep, and will deliver them out of all the 
places where they were scattered in the cloud 
and dark day. ,1 will seek that which was lost, 


and that which was driven away I will bring 
again, and I will bind up that which was 
broken, and I will strengthen that which was 
weak, and that which is strong I will preserve. 
I will feed them on the mountains, by the rivers, 
in the most fruitful pastures. I will cause them 
to lie down and rest on the grass." And 
Isaias, chapter xl., sings : " Behold, the Lord 
God shall come with strength, and His work 
is before Him. He shall feed His flock like 
a shepherd : He shall gather together the 
lambs with His arm, and shall take them up in 
His bosom, and carry them that are with 
young." Could there be anything more touch 
ing or more beautiful than this picture of 
our Lord as the Good Shepherd of all His 
flock ; thoughtful of and most tender towards 
the perishing and the lost, the afflicted, 
and the weak ? Fulfilled to the letter, when 
dying for ail on Calvary, He took us all to 
His arms, and placed us in His bosom and 
heart. We may, I presume, take it for granted 
that our Lord had those prophecies in His 
mind, and declared them fulfilled in Himself 
when He said, " I am the Good Shepherd ; the 
Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep.", 
- Those prophetic outlines of the character 


and mission of the Saviour of the world most 
aptly introduce us to the study of Him as He 
lived and walked and worked amongst men. The 
Spirit of God and of the Good Shepherd was 
upon Him, nay, filled Him from beginning to end. 
Hence, when He began His active missionary 
life, He declared at once what His work should 
be. " He was come not to destroy, but to save/ 
Save whom? "The perishing and the lost." 
How could the lost be saved? Only by a 
Saviour, wise, powerful, and loving as He. 
When the scribes and Pharisees endeavoured to 
excite popular feeling against Him, saying, " He 
is the friend of publicans and sinners, He eats 
with them." Far from denying or explaining 
away the charge, He admits, justifies, glories in 
it, because His mission was to such. " They 
that are in health need not the physician, but 
they that are ill; for I am come to call not the 
just, but sinners." Such is His answer. 

Powerfully and beautifully does our Lord 
impress on us His anxious longing after the 
worst sinners, His real sincere desire to save 
them, the labour and trouble He gives Himself 
to do so, and the sweet, easy terms on which 
He takes them back, in the parables of the lost 
sheep and the prodigal. , 


Let (.us- rest for a moment on these, bearing 
well in mind that they are not mere illustra 
tions, but proofs ; that our Lord spoke them 
in order to give us in an attractive way not 
likely to be forgotten, His natural- attitude- 
His real mind and heart towards the worst 

One might perchance think for the moment, 
Or at least suspect, when reading these parables, 
that, the sheep which went away and the son 
whqt left his father s house did so because, they 
were in some way neglected or not lookedfto as 
carefully as the ninety-nine or the elder brother. 
This thought could not be entertained for a 
second. The character and after-conduct of 
shepherd and father would oblige us to believe 
that both did all they could, short of violence 
or imprisonment, to keep the one in the fold 
and .the other in* his. home, and this through 
love of them. But foolishly, ungratefully, wil 
fully, and obstinately .".they turn their backs on 
shepherd and father, and go their own way, 
after other lovers. Could we condemn shepherd 
or father if, in the painful and irritating circum 
stances, they had taken their stand as follows 
many would have done so, and justified their 
action : They have abandoned us 1 Well, the 


best . thing is to let them see their folly out. 
When they have learned by experience that 
they have done wrongly, they will be only too 
elad to come back. No, the dread of their 


being lost, and the anxious longing for them, 
would not allow indifference or inaction. The 
shepherd sets out with anxious heart to seek the 
strayed, one, forgetful for the time of the ninety- 
nine who were always true to him, sacrificing 
also the love and consolation which he found in 
being with them. And when at last he finds 
her, there is no upbraiding ;. quite the contrary, 
he is so considerate of her, tired in walking hard 
ways, that he lifts her up and places her on his 
shoulders, and so glad, that he carries her back 
rejoicing. "Even, so," our Lord adds, "it is 
not the will of your father who is in heaven 
that one of these little ones should perish." 

And the father ! how does he act when, after 
many a day of patient prayer and almost hope 
less look-out, he espies the wretched prodigal 
returning ? Does he sit more or less in state 
within his house, oblige the son to remain for 
some time at the door, and, when he had ad 
mitted him, rake up the past, remind him of the 
love lavished and the warnings given to him, 
speak gravely, if not bitterly, of the shame, 


disgrace, and dishonour brought on his family 
by his misconduct, and then give him a sort of 
conditional pardon on hard terms ? Men act this 
way, or worse ; God never. No. " His father 
saw him when he was a great way off, and was 
moved with compassion ; and, running to him, 
fell upon his neck and kissed him." And this 
before the prodigal had opened his lips. But 
when, with humility and sorrow, he makes his 
confession in few words, nothing is too good for 
him. He must have the rich robe, the precious 
ring ; the fatted calf is killed, and the house 
rings with merriment and feasting. If one saw 
all this, not knowing the circumstances, he 
would be tempted to think that the father was 
in the wrong, had treated his child harshly or 
unjustly in the past, and was now making 
reparation. And when he was blamed for his 
way of acting by the elder son who, I suspect, 
would have been an advocate of the severest 
opinion his only answer, a most natural one, 
is gladness and joy because of a child lost and 
found, dead and brought to life again. A father 
of the Church says, " God is so rejoiced to get 
home a sinner that He cannot bring Himself to 
scold him." 

Some persons, it is to be feared, think and 


speak of God as if He were a proud, imperial 
autocrat, hard, severe, and exacting ; or as a 
hard task-master, with the low ways of a 
detective. By His nature, as King of kings 
and Lord of lords, He may be the former, but 
in action He is neither the former nor the latter. 
Why this wrong view of God ? Because some, 
instead of submitting to His will, as is their 
duty, act independently of Him, place them 
selves in opposition and antagonism to Him, 
and then are enraged because He will not yield 
to them ; or, ignoring Him, they set their hearts 
on something naturally loved, and think they 
ought to get it, whilst He wisely believes it 
better not to give ; or they act foolishly, im 
prudently, wrongly, sinfully, and bring trouble 
and punishment on themselves ; or crosses and 
trials come which they do not view rightly as 
well-deserved chastisements or as blessings in 
disguise, and then get out of sorts with God. 
They forget that He cannot do wrong, cannot 
put Himself in a false position with them ; but 
that they themselves can do both, and then 
most unjustly blame Him, as if He were the 
cause of their misfortune or their misery. No 
one can fight with God and have peace. There 
is only one way of conquering Him, and this is 


by laying down our arms and striking to His 

St. Leo the Great has said : "If Christ were 
not God He could not have redeemed us, and 
if He were not man He could not be pur 
exemplar or model." God, or an angel,; -or a 
man of impassable nature could not be a model 
to us. Hence the Eternal Son took our nature, 
as human as in us, without sin first, that, bear 
ing the sins of all men, He might atone for,them 
in His flesh on the Cross, His Godhead giving 
to His great sacrifice its infinite, redeeming, and 
sanctifying power ; and secondly, that He might 
show forth the perfection of our nature and be 
a pattern to His brethren; that, by experiencing 
in Himself, as He really did, our sorrows and 
our sufferings, "He could the better j, com 
passionate us." It is with this second-end or 
purpose of the incarnation that we shall have to 
do for a moment. We leave out of sight too 
much the human side of our Lord s character. 
We would love Him the more and imitate Him 
the better if we understood how thoroughly 
human He was and is. 

Keeping in mind the reasoning of St. Paul 
in his Epistle to the Hebrews, and the saying 
of Saint -Leo, may we not assert, that one of 


the secondary reasons why God became man 
was to prove that God is far more thoughtful, 
considerate, tender, and helpful towards us than 
the best of us are to each other ? We have 
many instances of this, and some very painful 
contrasts between the .ways of God the Saviour 
of man towards nien, and of man towards his 
fellow -man. Instances which bring out, in 
very clear relief, the exquisite human beauty 
of our Lord s character. How much better 
should we be if we took them more to our 
hearts ! 

Saint Matthew tells us that our Lord, 
followed by a great multitude, was once 
passing where two blind men sat by the 
wayside, begging. These poor afflicted ones, 
hearing that Jesus was nigh, " cried out, 
saying, O Lord, Thou Son of David, have 
mercy on us." What was the action of the 
crowd ; did they, or even one of them, go 
at once to our Lord and say, Here are two 
brothers of ours in sad need of your help ; ah ! 
do what you can for them? No such thing; 
quite the contrary, they are for hurrying on 
and leaving them to their fate, nay, more, 
" they rebuked them, that they should hold 
their peace." But our Lord ; He called them, 


had compassion on them, touched their eyes, 
and they saw. 

Another time, we read how some good 
mothers brought their infants and little children 
that our Lord might impose hands on them 
and pray. How did the disciples act ? Did 
they, in a spirit of kindness, charity, and 
becoming respect for women and children, 
favour their pious desires ? No ; they acted 
just as the crowd did; they rebuked them 
that brought their children. But our Lord : 


He was much displeased with the action of 
His disciples, read them a lesson on 
humility, taking a child as His text, and then 
embraced and blessed the children. 

More remarkable still : we read how an 
alien woman of Canaan once came to our Lord, 
arid crying out, said, " Have mercy on me, 
O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is 
grievously troubled by a devil." And here 
again the disciples not only have no sympathy 
with nor pity for this poor distracted woman, 
they actually plead against her, " beseeching 
their Master to send her away, because she crieth 
after us." But He, having first, by very trying 
questions, evoked her wondrous faith, greater 
than any He found in Israel, sends her away 


comforted, for " her daughter was cured from 
that hour." 

The Evangelist gives us His daily life 
through all the days of His mission. He was 
ever followed and surrounded by the poor, the 
ignorant, the afflicted of body and soul, and 
virtue was for ever going out from Him for the 
healing of all. A celebrated French painter 
so pictures Him, seated in the midst of a 
group, each member of which represents some 
phase of human sorrow or suffering : He, the 
Divine Physician, curing and comforting all. 
He aptly entitled his work, "Christ the 

So human was His heart that the very 
sight of sorrow moved it to its depths. The 
widowed mother of Nairn made no appeal to 
Him, but He saw her tears fall as she followed 
the remains of her only son to the grave, and 
restored him at once to life, and to her arms. 

The two parables noted above have prepared 
us, no doubt, for His manner of dealing with 
sinners, even the worst ; and, after all, facts are 
stronger proofs than parables. That universal 
practical sympathy which made no exception 
when bodily disease and suffering were in 
question, is symbolical and typical of a higher 


sympathy when the miseries of the soul were 
the object of it. We read of no sinner, who 
came to Him, being cast out; all were received 
with open arms and welcome. I might insist 
on Magdalene and the thief on the Cross, but 
I will not, because one came and the other 
tried out to Him; but I do on that wretched 
woman, who was dragged before Him, as 
evidence of His dread of losing even one, and 
this apparently the most hopeless. She had 
committed a grievous, scandalous crime against 
the law of God and Moses, the penalty ot 
which was death by stoning. She did not of 
herself come to Him. She was dragged before 
Him, and her accusers put a pressure upon our 
Lord, of which nd ordinary man could have 
freed himself, without condemning her. And 
yet in the moment He touched her soul with 
grace, saw repentance in her sad and silent 
attitude, took her part against her accusers who, 
sinners themselves, had no mercy for her, and 
forgave her so mercifully and in such tender 
"words, that one is tempted to think that He 
made too little of her sin. And this is the 
unchanging God, the same yesterday, to-day, 
"and for ever! The God of whom some think 
and speak harshly, God help the very best of 


us if He were to us what even the best of us 
are often towards each other. 

But have I forgotten this mildest opinion 
which I am advocating, and the arguments in 
its favour ? Well, apparently for the moment, 
but not really so. Our Lord, in His daily life, 
walking and working amongst His fellow-men, 
and doing good to all, is so beautiful and 
lovable a figure, that one may be pardoneel 
for lingering or even going off his road, in 
order to look upon Him, study Him, and then 
love Him the more. Besides, His character, as 
manifested on earth, seems to me at least, to 
go far in proving as most probable that the 
majority of mankind will be saved. Surely He, 
having the same mind and heart in heaven 
which He had on earth enthroned, glorified, 
and interceding for us all at the right hand of 
His Father ought to be more willing and 
powerful to compassionate, help, and save than 
when, as man, He lived in our midst. 

But to the argument. If we were to specu 
late for ever, could we imagine any stronger or 
more convincing proof that the Son made man 
was one in mind and heart with His Father in 
the real sincere will to save all men without 
exception, than the proof He did give by suffer- 


ing and dying for all men ? We also get some 
insight into the earnestness of this will, and into 
the intense longing He had for the salvation of 
all men, by considering for a moment the way 
in which He humbled Himself and suffered in 
order to merit and secure their salvation. He 
did not, writes Saint Paul, " take hold of the 
angels, but of the seed of Abraham He taketh 
hold." Saint Thomas tells us in his hymn, 
"Adoro te devote," that He could have atoned 
for all the sins of the world, and saved it by 
one drop of blood. And yet what did He will ? 
" He offered Himself because He willed it." 
He willed " to be made in all things like to 
His brethren, that He might become a merciful 
and faithful High Priest before God, that He 
might be a propitiation for the sins of the 
people. For that wherein He Himself hath 
suffered and being tempted, He is able to 
succour them also that are tempted. A High 
Priest who being * tried in all things without 
sin, even as we are, and learning obedience in 
suffering," could the better have compassion on 
our infirmities. So Saint Paul describes Him. 
We may rightly suppose from the words of 
Saint Paul and Saint Thomas, cited above, 
that the eternal Son, had He so wished it, could 


have done His great Work of the- world s 
redemption without subjecting Himself to 
humiliation, pain, or suffering. But instead 
of this, He takes a- nature ours which was 
to Him humiliation and degradation. " He 
emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant." 
In; this lowly nature He passes through every 
phase of sorrow -and of suffering, intensely 
sensitive to them all. He endured every 
torture of soul and body beyond what any 
other beincr ever did or could bear, feeling 

O C> 

them all as if He were only man, and all the 
more because He was God ; and as long as it 
was possible for Him to sustain them, on to 
His last agony and death on the Cross. And 
all this, that He might carry out the will and 
satisfy the longing of His Father and His own, 
first, by atoning for the sins of every child of 
Adam ; and, secondly, by meriting infinite grace 
for the salvation of them all. 

Holy Scripture overflows with proofs of this 
most consoling truth. Christ is the second 
Adam, because He undid the evil work of the 
first. He died for all men, because He died 
for all whose nature He took. He died for all 
against whom stood the handwriting of the 
decree. He gave Himself a redemption for all 



He is a propitiation for the sins of the whole 
world. Each and every man may say with as 
much truth as Saint Paul, " He loved me, and 
delivered Himself to death for me." In His 
supreme oblation and awful sacrifice, He ex 
cluded no one. In His mind and heart were 
the Greek, the Gentile, the Barbarian, as well 
as the Jew. We have this truth declared in the 
Nicene Creed, and proclaimed in the title, 
" Salvator Mundi," Saviour of the World, 
given by excellence to our Lord. 

He Himself once said, " Greater love than 
this no man hath, that a man lay down his 
life for his friends." And Saint Paul, " Scarce 
for a just man will one die, yet perhaps for a 
good man some one would dare to die." He 
alone gave proof of that exceeding great love 
which urged Him to suffer and die for us when 
we were His enemies. " God commendeth His 
charity towards us, because when we were as 
yet sinners Christ died for us." He so valued 
us, bad as we were, that He would not buy us 
at a low price : Not with gold or silver or cor 
ruptible things. He, the Lamb, unspotted and 
undefiled, gave the highest price He could 
His precious blood to its last drop, and His life 
(St. Peter, ist Epistle, chap, i, verse 18). 



WE learn much of the mind of the Church on 
this subject from the works of her greatest and 
most approved theologians. These lay down, 
and prove from Scripture and the unbroken 
teaching of her Fathers and Doctors, the fol 
lowing propositions:!, That God really and 
sincerely, of His own loving nature, wills and 
desires the salvation of all men, not one 
excepted. 2, That Christ was one with His 
Father in this will and proved it by dying 
for all men. 3. That Christ s satisfaction and 
atonement for the sins of all men was infinite, 
and that His merits for the sanctification and 
salvation of all men are infinite also. 

But, moreover, Christ s great saving work 
and mission did not close with the awful 
sacrifice of Calvary. He provided that they 
should go on for ever. He therefore founded 


His Church, His visible, yet divine spiritual 
kingdom, in which the Holy Ghost must for 
ever abide, to keep her in truth and holiness, 
and to pour out lavishly her gifts. He organ 
ised her, in Saint Peter and -the Apostles, as a 
moral body to last for ever. He provided for 
her, greater expansion and development, fijled 
her treasury- with His own merits, furnished her 
in the most generous manner with means and 


helps for the salvation ;of mankind. Lastly, He 
.commanded her to teach, with His authority, 
all nations ; and all nations to accept her 


The means and helps which the Church 
possesses with a view to the salvation of her 
children, are easy to know and easy to use. 
It is easy to learn of her the dogmas to be 
believed, the commandments to be observed, 
and the sacraments to be received. All these 
are within the capacity of the child and of the 
uneducated. By the right use of prayer, by 
the reverent hearing of Mass, by the worthy 
reception of the sacraments, particularly those 
of Penance and the Eucharist, and by the pious 
use of some approved devotions the condi 
tions laid down for doing these works fruitfully 
being simple, easily understood, and easily ful- 


filled --Catholics rca n, Always command grace, 
by the good use of which they can overcome 
temptations, observe the commandments, dis 
charge the duties of their state, repent if they 
sin, and save their souls. 

Now, narrowing the questiorf /or the moment 
to Catholics and bearing well in, mind that 
God s greatest, only work, I may say, outside 
Himself, the Incarnation, culminating in Calvary, 
and the, institution of the Church, was designed, 
carried,- out, .and perfected by the infinite- 
wisdom, power; and love of Father, Son, anpl 
Holy Ghost for the set purpose of saving men, 
whom they sincerely wish to save what con 
clusion is forced upon us ? Is it not that the 
majority, t^he vast majority, of adult Catholics 
are saved ? For if not, must we not admit what 
appears incredible, that this transcendently 
great work; settled by God in His providence 
as the best for effecting that upon .which His 
heart was set, the salvation of His children, us, 
humanly speaking, a "great failure. And here 
I may appeal to experience. If any person, 
living in a Catholic country as ours is, or in 
any country where the Catholic Church is in 
evidence and carrying on her mission, review 
their Catholic friends or Catholics in any way 


known to them good, bad, and indifferent- 
will not the number of those leading good lives 
exceed the number of one or both of the other 
classes? Again, many of these change as time 
goes on, become practical Catholics long before 
death-sickness shows itself, and how few ot 
them, after all, die without the last sacraments. 
And, even at the last hour, a confession made by 
a person who is really repentant by attrition, 
takes away the guilt of countless sins, and saves 
the soul from being eternally lost. Some holy 
and learned men have expressed great hope for 
all Catholics who receive the last sacraments. 
Let me not, however, be even suspected of 
making little of Catholics putting off their con 
version till death faces and frightens them. I 
have, perhaps, too strong views about a certain 
class who do this. Father Lacordaire, in his 
advocacy of the mildest opinion, attaches im 
portance to the poor. 

God is no acceptor or respecter of persons. 
He Himself tells us so. In the exercise of His 
infinitely perfect and delicate justice, there must 
be a good deal of what I may call balancing. 
It is therefore in keeping with God s character 
as Creator, Father, and Saviour of His poor 
children, of the least of His little ones, as He 


lovingly calls them, that He would balance the 
poverty, misery, and hardships of this temporal 
life by the riches, comforts, and helps of the 
spiritual one ; that He saves them on easier 
terms than He does others. I wonder had He 
this in mind and heart when He said, " Blessed 
are the poor," and gave Himself almost exclu 
sively to them ? 

But let me suppose the case of a rich man 
who has peace in his possessions. God has 
blessed him spiritually by giving him His 
greatest grace, membership of His Church, 
temporarily, also, by giving him the comforts, 
the riches, the pleasures, the luxuries of life- 
temporal gifts which he values and enjoys and 
loves so much that death would be preferable 
to his losing them, or to his being subjected to 
the hard suffering lives which God has given 
to better men. And yet he made for years 
those human things his idols ; he allowed them 
not only to absorb him, to alienate him from 
God, but he made them the means of insulting 
and outraging the Great Giver by abusing 
them. A very Dives, indulgent of self, and 
heedless of the poor ; a man to whom God 
may say with perfect truth, " When I filled 
your hands with good things, you said, Go away 


from me." What reason is there for balancing 
here? Do not the very atvful things, said by 
the Fathers of the Churcb, and authorised by 
words of God, as to death-beet repentance, 
apply with force to the case supposed ? And 
yet Catholics of this class are, I believe, in a 
great niinority. 

But I must be back to the mildest opinion, 
that the majority, not merely of Catholics, but 
of mankind, are saved. There is a great truth, 
the consequence of the Incarnation, and of the 
Church s mission, that makes for this opinion, 
to which I must ask a studied attention. Grace, 
merited at such cost by Christ and given to -man, 
to every man with a. view to His salvation by 
the Holy Spirit, is God s great and only sancti 
fying and saving power. With it we can do all 
things, without it nothing. Now, countless 
means, settled by God, and therefore- of their 
nature, effective, are always at work to cause a 
never-ceasing abundant flow of grace , : on the 
whole world, and of bringing it home to the 
souls of all men ; graces which, according to 
the Prophet s word, were to be as rivers and 
fountains breaking out in_ desert and wilder 
ness, and making what before was barren and 
desolate, bloom like the lily and the watered 


garden. The first of these means, and the 
greatest, -is "the- Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in 
which the same victim is offered, and the same 
Priest the offerer as on Calvary. In the words 
of the Council of Trent, " No other work 
so holy could be offered as this tremendous 
sacrifice." Theologians, even those inclined 
to limit its effects, write of the atoning and 
impetratory power of the Mass in itself, 
independently of the dispositions of the priest, 
as immense. We know, from the very wording 
of the Mass, as well as from the spirit of the 
Church and of her Divine Founder, the pro 
minent ends, purposes, and intentions for which 
Mass is offered i. For the welfare, prosperity, 
and triumph of the Church, .and for the spiritual 
good of men, living and ,dead. I s it too much 
to say that these are identical with the salva 
tion of mankind, which is the sole mission of 
the Church ? 2. For the conversion of sinners. 
These are kept well in mind for all Catholics 
by ~th. prayers which the present Sovereign 
Pontiff has ordered to be said in the vernacular 
at the end of each Mass. The wish, will, 
desire, and longing of the Divine Victim, offered 
upon 5 tho j usands 4 .of .altars,. every morning, are 
the very same as He had when agonising on 


the Cross. And the unbloody sacrifice is His 
most powerful means of giving effect to that 
will of saving all men, for which He shed His 
precious blood to the last drop on Calvary. It 
is stated that a quarter of million of masses 
are celebrated each day throughout the whole 
world, fulfilling to the letter the well-known 
prophecy of Malachy. What, we may ask, 
becomes of those graces which no one but God 
could count ? Graces merited by Jesus Christ, 
who, when lifted up, will draw all men to 
Himself; graces merited by Him, and given to 
all men, to the very worst sinners about whom 
His sacred Heart is most anxious, because in 
greatest danger of beincr lost to Him for ever. 

r> o C> 

Can we believe that such graces so merited 
and so given by God, who desires the salvation 
of all men, and for this purpose poured out by 
the Holy Spirit run for the greater part waste, 
and are useless ? Yet such must be the case, 
if the mildest opinion be not the truest. 

Again, no man could number the myriad 
meritorious works performed by millions in 
every age of the Church. The prayers said, 
daily masses heard, holy communions made, 
visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament, acts of 
aharity, of self-denial, of mortification often 


heroic. The sacred ministrations of devoted 
priests and religious, as well as the holy lives 
of seculars, secret and hidden, with God. Souls 
on fire with the love of Jesus crucified, and 
inflamed with His love for all men, even the 
worst. But we must not suppose that all or 
the most of those meritorious works were or 
are offered up for those only who do them. 
The Church s spirit directs them towards the 
worst sinners, even the worst pagans whom she 
is under command to teach and convert. But, 
moreover, there have always been countless 
children of hers, whose dominant devotion and 
work have been the conversion of sinners, and 
above all, of the worst and most hopeless. This 
is, as we learn from their holy founders, the 
purpose, I may say the only purpose, besides 
their own personal sanctification, of all the con 
templative orders of women, the devout female 
sex. Lacordaire, by the way, in advocating the 
mildest opinion, attaches importance to women. 
We are so caught by things which are public 
and under our eyes, that hidden lives and works 
are little thought of and, by some, little prized. 
We are impressed by and in admiration 
rightly so of the noble works of charity done 
by religious of active orders in the poor school, 


the hospital, \ magdalen asylums, orphanages, 
the cabins of the sick, poor, etc. But scarcely, 
perhaps, give we a thought tt> the contemplative 
religious so numerous in the ages of faith 
whose devoted, mortified lives, lives of the 
closest union with Jesus Christ in the Blessed 
vSacrament, were given to tfie multiplying of 
graces throughout the whole \ortd for the con 
version of sinners. 

I must rest for a moment on the~ comtempla- 
tive orders of women, because I believe that 
these at all times, and more particularly in the 
trying ages of the Church, di<3. marvellous things 
for the worst sinners, and therefore suggest at 


least an argument in favour of the mildest 
opinion. We may learn the spirit which 
animated those contemplative orders, by study 
ing the mind of their founders, and of some 
of their most remarkable members ; many 
of them canonised saints, who all were filled 
with zeal for the conversion of sinners, and did 
their best, by word and example, to impart this 
zeal to their orders or communities. Of St. 
Teresa, we read that she had an intense r zeal 
for the conversion of sinners. She con 
tinually recommended their souls to the Divine 
mercy, with many tears. She constantly wept 


over the darkness .and ignorance i-n .which 
infidels and heretics lived, and inflicted- on 
herself tortures in order to appease the Divine 
wratfo, and to secure the grace of their con,- 
.version*. Her grief for the sinful was inex- 
pressibk, ,and she was ready to suffer with 
joy a thousand deaths for one soul. She 
charged her religious never to cease from 
this office of charity, and from praying for 
those ministers who labour for the salvation 
of souls. The incredible zeal and solicitude 
of St. Catherine, of Bologna, for the conversion 
of sinners, made her pour forth prayers and 
tears almost without intermission for their 
salvation. Of St. Catherine, of Sienna, we 
read that her ardent charity made her inde 
fatigable in labouring for the conversion of 
sinners, offering for this end continual tears, 
prayers, fasts, and other austerities, and think 
ing nothing difficult or above her strength. 
Her prayers often succeeded when her words, 
usually powerful, failed. Many hardened 
sinners, two assassins condemned to death, 
long with rage in their hearts and blasphemies 
on their lips, were at last moved to repentance 
by her prayers. We read of some contempla- 
tives who, in desperate cases, threw themselves 


prostrate before the Blessed Sacranient, and 
lovingly told our Lord that they would not 
leave till the soul was given to them, or rather 
to Him. We can understand all this if we 
bear in mind that those simple, devout souls 
were ever looking on the crucifix and the 
tabernacle ; and these, the two great outcomes 
and proofs of the love of the Sacred Heart for 
all men, even the worst, not only set on fire 
their own hearts with love of our Lord, but 
with love also of what He loved sinners. 
Our Lord is said, in some of His revelations 
to such souls, to have begged of them to pray 
for the conversion of sinners, that He might 
satisfy His longing to save them. 

A person once expressed surprise to a 
distinguished Redemptorist Father, that St. 
Alphonsus, a man of so active and missionary 
a disposition, should have founded an order 
of contemplative nuns. His answer gave the 
raison d etre of such orders. "St. Alphonsus 
intention," he said, "was that whilst his priests 
were engaged in their active ministrations, his 
nuns would be procuring graces which would 
make these ministrations fruitful in the souls of 
the faithful." Preaching in itself cannot con 
vert or save unless the seed of the word fall 


upon prepared soil. The sacraments, though 
they of themselves produce grace, cannot of 
themselves purify and sanctify. Souls must be 
disposed in order to receive them rightly and 
profitably. But what is it which alone can dis 
pose soil and soul ? Grace. We may therefore 
justly suppose that all contemplative religious, 
active religious, and priests who, as a rule, have 
great devotion to the conversion of sinners, 
pious seculars, many of whom are not wantinp- 
in this spirit, like a poor, simple old woman 
who once said to myself, " Father, I am always 
praying that not one soul for which Jesus died 
should be lost to Him "; in a word, all who, 
by their prayers and other meritorious works, 
bring home grace to the souls of sinners, 
have as much, if not more, to do with their 
conversion than the priest who ministers to 
them. Rodriguez, in a chapter headed, " Of 
prayer, which is the second means to produce 
fruit in souls," proves at length from Scripture 
and the Fathers that prayer is the best means of 
averting God s wrath and of converting sinners. 
The affair of converting souls is purely super 
natural. We do it better by fervent prayers, 
by tears and sighs of heart, than by eloquence 
and force of words." We are told of a dis- 


tinguished preacher whose sermons produced 
great good, and who, on this account, -had some 
temptations t-o vanity, whom God humbled by 
giving him to understand that the fruit gathered 
by his sermons was due to the graces merited 
by a pious lay brother, who sat, as is the 
custom in Italy, at the foot of the pulpit, and 
kept reciting the rosary for his success to the 
greater glory of God. Fact or fable, it illus 
trates a great truth. But there is something- 
still more powerful for flooding the world with 
grace, and bringing it home to the souls of all 
men, than the quarter millions of masses and 
the millions of meritorious acts for ever ascend 
ing from earth to the throne of God for the 
salvation of sinners. 

What of the poor suffering souls who know 
from the experience of their own lives, better 
than the holiest soul on earth could, the desire 
of God to save, and His loving ways of doing 
so, who are full of gratitude to Him for His 
great mercy ? Their prayers and their suffer 
ings are for ever ascending to God, begging for 
others that grace He delights to give, and of 
which they have received. What of the Saints 
and Angels whom no man could number? 
What of her, Mary, the ever-blessed mother of 


God Mother of Christ and therefore Mother 
of mercy and Refuge of sinners, gifted with a 
privileged omnipotence ? What of Christ Him 
self sitting at the right hand of the Father, for 
ever interceding for us ? Saints and angels 
and the Virgin Mother are for ever looking on 
the face of Christ, and understanding, as the 
highest contemplative could not, what He did 
for the salvation of sinners. Now wise, with 
the wisdom of God, they remember how He 
was treated and mocked \ as a fool. Now 
glorious, they remember how He was as 
a servant, an outcast, a leper, and no man. 
Now powerful, they remember how He was 
struck upon the face, spat upon, scourged as 
a slave, crucified as a malefactor. How, for a 
time, He gave up everything on earth but His 
love of sinners and His power to save them. 
In His five wounds, now glorified, they read 
every page and see every scene in the most 
cruel passion. How sinners were first and 
more in His heart than even His own mother; 
and how He went to the very extreme limits 
of truth to plead for and excuse them in the 
awful hour of His agony. 

All the glorious inhabitants of heaven, seeing 
Jesus Christ and God face to face, know, as the 



holiest on earth could not, the will and desire 
of God Creator, Father, Saviour, and Sancti- 
fier for the salvation of all men. How much 
the salvation of men contribute to Their glory. 
How much the working out of this salvation 
cost, the joy in heaven, and the happiness 
of a soul saved ; and the disappointment 
and misery of a soul lost. We must believe 
that with all this knowledge, and with souls not 
merely aflame with love, but one in love with 
God, their prayers are for ever and ever ascend 
ing to Him for that which they know He has 
most at heart the conversion and salvation of 
sinners. Millions on earth, and millions in 
heaven, are every moment meriting by prayer, 
and by more powerful means than prayer, 
graces not merely for those whom they fear or 
know to be sinners, but for sinners the worst 
sinners scattered everywhere, of whom they 
know nothing. Many a soul who never 
preached, never administered a sacrament, 
never did any external apostolic work, will, 
I suspect, be amazed when they joyously learn 
on judgment day the number of sinners they 
saved by the devotion of their lives to this 
purpose ; by their pleading constantly for them 
before crucifix and tabernacle. We may fairly 


speculate as to what becomes of those myriad 
graces, asked with such heart by such souls of 
God, who, wishing to save all men, wishes to 
give them grace to clo so. Is it more probable 
that the greater number are waste, and fail in 
the end and purpose for which they were asked 
and given, or the contrary ? If, as a rule, 
grace, this great power of God, is in the end 
more effective than ineffective, it would go far 
to prove the mildest opinion. What becomes 
of those myriad graces ? If we could know of 
God s secret dealings with His children and 
the redeemed of His precious blood during life, 
and still more when they are about to die, we 
would most probably learn that the ignorant, 
benighted, wild savage, and all those who, 

o o 

through His providence, are outside the ordi 
nary road and \vay of salvation, receive largely 
of those graces, and are looked to and helped 
in His own extraordinary way. This view is 
taken clearly by Father Faber, and by other 
upholders of the mild opinions, and it is hard to 
imagine how anyone could take any other view, 
if he believes that God is the Father and 
Saviour of all men in truth, and not merely 
in name. 



Dr. Murray, the late well-known Maynooth 
Professor of Theology, whom many, still living, 
remember with esteem and affection, gave one 
or two lectures on this question. I heard them, 
and though it is more than fifty years ago, and 
I have no notes, I remember well the trend of 
his reasoning in favour of the mildest opinion. 
I should do so, because his lectures first excited- 
my interest and founded my conviction. He 
argued somewhat after the following manner : 

o O 

If we study the life and mission of our Lord as 
we have them vividly pictured to us in Holy 
Scripture, old and new, in prophecy and fulfil 
ment, we must believe that He was and ever 
must be the divinely constituted King of a 
mighty spiritual kingdom, the greatest and 
grandest which ever existed. A kingdom 
which was to include the whole world, and be 
for all time, or rather for eternity. He was to 
rule from sea to sea, and from the river unto the 
ends of the earth. To Him shall be gathered 
all nations, and in Him shall all nations be 
blessed. Peoples and kings and queens from 
the islands of the sea and from afar are to come 
to Him bearing gifts in their hands. He is to 


be the light and glory of the Gentile world, and 
salvation even to the farthest ends of the earth. 
He shall lift up His hand and set up His 
standard to the people, and they shall come 
to Him, bringing their sons in their arms, and 
carrying their daughters on their shoulders. 
All nations shall serve Him, and all the kings 
of the earth shall adore Him. Kings shall be 
His nursing fathers, and queens His nurses, and 
they shall worship Him with their face to the 
earth. "He shall be great, and shall be called 
the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God 
shall give unto Him the throne of His father 
David, and He shall reign in the house of 
Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall 
be no end." A human word would disfigure 
this magnificent inspired description of King 
and kingdom. And yet, being King of this 
mighty Empire, He shall be the Prince of Peace 
the Lamb, the Ruler of the world, because 
ruling it in gentleness ; the Divine Physician, 
at whose word the blind see, the deaf, hear, the 
lame leap as the deer, and the dead live again ; 
the Good Shepherd, who is to have a special 
love, tenderness, and pity for the weak, the 
bruised, the strayed, and the lost. Now is it 
probable, is it credible, that the majority of the 


subjects of such a King, who loves them all, 
desires their happiness, and gives to all, in His 
own way, the means of securing it, will be 
obstinate rebels to the end ? probable, that 
man and devil shall carry away from such a 
King the greater number of captives, that hell 
in its numbers will out-distance heaven ? It 
such be the case, what of the greatness, 
grandeur, and magnificence which God tells 
us will be special characteristics of the mighty 
King and kingdom? Is our Lord to be also a 
failure as a King ? 

But we must press this last argument further, 
or rather supplement it by another. It is also 
clear from Scripture that our Lord is to have a 
final triumph, not merely because such ought 
to be the result of such a King s powerful and 
beneficent rule, but also in reward for the awful 
sufferings which He patiently endured unto 
death for love of His subjects. In proof of this, 
let us take two or three texts of Holy Scripture. 
In the fifty-third chapter of Isaias, entitled a 
"Prophecy of the Passion of "Christ," we are 
told that Christ offered Himself because it 
was His own will, that He was wounded for 
our iniquities and bruised for our sins ; that, 
bearing our infirmities, our sorrows, and our 


sins, He laid down His life for His people. 
What is to be His reward for all this ? " He 
shall see a long-lived seed ; the will of the Lord 
shall be prosperous in His hands. He shall see 
and be filled, shall justify many, and shall 
divide the spoils of the strong." And St. Paul 
writes : " He- humbled Himself, becoming 
obedient unto death, even the death of the 
Cross. For which cause God also hath exalted 
Him, and hath given Him a name which is above 
all names. That in the name of Jesus every 
knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on 
earth, and under the earth. And that every 
tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus 
Christ is in the glory of God the Father." St. 
John, in his inspired book the Apocalypse, de 
scribes the powers of evil, and gives them very 
terrible names, but then adds : " These will fight 
the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them be 
cause He is the Lord of lords and King of kings." 
He also tells us that thousands of thousands 
saints and angels in heaven sing, " The Lamb 
that was slain is worthy to receive power, and 
divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, 
and glory, and benediction, because He has 
redeemed us to God out of every tribe, and 
tongue, and nation, and people" But what of 


this final triumph and victory ? Where can 
they be if on judgment the great election 
day our Lord s rival candidate, enemy, and 
opponent, will, under His very eyes, and in 
presence of the whole world, carry away 
jubilantly into hell the majority, the vast 
majority of His subjects, subjects whom He 
loved as a Father, whom He bought out of 
slavery at the highest price He could give, and 
for whose salvation He laboured and suffered > 
Such a result should give us, as Father Faber 
says, " hard and, to our weakness, dishonour 
able thoughts of God." The Church calls the 
fall of Adam a happy fall, because it merited 
the more abundant grace of redemption. Could 
anyone who, in a spirit of lively faith, takes in 
the whole work of the Incarnation, reconcile 
himself to the thought that it is in great part a 
sad failure ? It is awful enough to think that 
even one soul should be lost, after all God has 
done for it. 

" Quserens me sedist i lassus, 
Redemisti crucem passus ; 
Tantus labor non sit cassus." 

" Seeking me Thy footstep hasted, 
Me to save the Cross was tasted ; 
- Be not toil so mighty wasted." 


This beautiful verse of the " Dies Irse " gives 
us in three sentences not merely what our Lord 
suffered for each child of Adam, but also what 
should be the natural effect of such suffering. 

To conclude these arguments, and at the cost 
of repeating myself, I must say : If we study 
God the Creator, Father, Saviour, and Sanctifier 
of all men, His real, sincere will to save all men, 
and His giving to all men the means of working 
out their salvation ; if we look on these not as 
mere words, meaning little or nothing, but as 
words which embody great divine truths 
revealed by God Himself, we must be almost 
necessitated to believe it most probable that 
He will in His own varied, wondrous, and 
mysterious ways ways suited to the state in 
which His own providence placed men bring 
home in the end to Himself the majority of His 
children, and that the fruits of His redemption 
will be abundantly copious. 
: Of course it may be, and is, objected that 
God is glorified in the lost as well as in the 
saved. True, if you will, but in a very different 
way. God is love, and therefore He loves to 
save. The Church in one of her prayers tells 
us that it is " special to God to have mercy 
and to spare." Will anyone say He loves ^to 


damn ? Damnation is forced upon Him in 
the exercise of His justice by the obstinate 
rebellion of His creature. At the same time, 
anyone should naturally shrink from thinking 1 
or saying that He is, or could be, glorified by 
the eternal loss and damnation of the majority 
of His subjects and children. 



THE writers, but perhaps still more the preacher^,, 
who uphold the severe opinions, appeal to or at 
least use Holy Scripture as if it were all on 
their own side. They see types or figures ot 
the lost and saved in the few grapes, or olives, 
or ears of corn which remain after a well-made 
vintage and harvest (Isaias, chaps. 17 and 24) ; 
in only eight being saved in the deluge, in 
Abraham alone separated from the rest of the 
world, in only three saved out of the wicked 
cities, in Job being the only just man in his 
land, and the three children the only innocent 
ones in Babylon, in only one widow being- 
relieved during the famine in Israel, and only 
one leper, out of many, being cured in the days 
of Eliseus, the prophet. A very satisfactory 
answer could be given, and is given, to each 
of the above-mentioned types. I confine my 
self to a general one. These comparisons, 


first of all, if pressed home, would lead to 
a conclusion so dis mal, so despairing, " so 
hard and dishonourable to God," as to be 
almost incredible : conclusions which no person 
should accept unless really proved. They 
are used principally, but not exclusively, by 
preachers who wish to terrify, and who for 
this purpose often accommodate Holy Scrip 
ture to their views in a very free and loose 
way. These types, figures, comparisons, as 
one may call them, have no power or force 
as an argument unless it can be shown that 
they were intended by the Holy Spirit, who 
inspired Scripture, to shadow forth the com 
parative number of the lost and saved. Now, 
I cannot find amongst the advocates of the 
severest opinion who use them, even one 
who in any way hazards such an assertion. 
Rhetoric they may be, but argument they are 

The words, " Many are called, but few are 
chosen," with which our Lord closes two of 
His parables, " The labourers in the vineyard " 
and M The marriage feast," are cited with great 
confidence by the upholders of the severest 
opinion as final and conclusive. Such is not 
the case. The real meaning of those parables 



and words is so controverted as to exclude 
proof. A. Lapide, who is the strongest advo 
cate I know of the severest opinion, admits and 
explains two interpretations of the parable of 
the labourers, and one of the marriage feast, 
which do not, and could not, touch the question 
of the lost and saved. He even calls the first 
of the two mentioned above very probable, and 
gives St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, St. Augus 
tine, Maldonatus, Bellarmin, and Suarez as 
favouring,,!!* Both parables, as interpreted by 
such men and by others of name, seem to 
favour the mildest opinion. In the one all the 
labourers are rewarded, and in the other only 
one guest is cast out. 

Some seem to think, and one writer says 
plainly, that our Lord decided this question in 
favour of the severe opinions when He spoke 
of the narrow and wide gate, as we read He did 
in the seventh chapter of St. Matthew, and in 
the thirteenth of St. Luke : " Enter ye at the 
narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is 
the way that leadeth to destruction, and many 
there are that go in thereat ; how narrow is the 
gate and straight the way that leadeth to life, 
and few there are that find it." Or, as St. 
Luke gives it: "And a certain man said to 


Him, Lord are they few that are saved ? but 
-lie said -to him, Strive to -enter by the narrow 
gate, for many, I say, shall seek to enter and 
shall not be able." We may remark, first, that 
our Lord kept His secret to Himself, and gave 
no direct answer to this certain man s question. 
He does not say that most men, or the majority 
of men, are lost. When he says many there are 
who go in by the wide gate, He asserts at most 
what the advocates of the mildest opinion do not 
deny, that many, absolutely many, will be lost. 
But does He even say this ? We may, with all 
respect and reverence, suggest an interpreta 
tion which is justified by the text itself and 
borne out by the experience of those who -have 

had long- and intimate relations with souls. We 

must very carefully distinguish between a life 
bad at one time, and the same life not continuing 
bad to the end. We are not to suppose, bad 
once bad for ever. Again, when our Lord 
speaks of two gates, He means not the gates of 
heaven and hell, but the gates of two roads 
which, persevered on to the end, would lead to 
one or the other. He, moreover, speaks of 
those only who enter on or begin a loose kind 
of life, but not a word as to how they end. Is 
there not such a thing as true repentance made 


by the living and dying, often secret with 
God, and far more unnoticed by man than 
the sinful life which needed it ? A repent 
ance which gets a man out of the danger of 
ending on the broad way which leadeth to 

It is true that many, carried away by the 
powerfully strong attractions of the world out 
side, and the stronger natural passions within, 
enter at the wide gate and run for a time the 
broad way, who, in maturer years, get out of it 
into the narrow way. We see this in the lives 
of many canonised saints, men who in early 
years were thoroughly worldly, like St. Ignatius 
and St. Francis Xavier, or thoroughly sinful 
like St. Augustine. How many men are to be 
met in ordinary life edifying and religious 
who were not always so ; the memory of whose 
past sins is, like David s, a fountain of tears 
and an incentive to great holiness. On the 
other hand, there are few who, from obvious 
and natural reasons, are strong and courageous 
and mortified enough to find and enter the 
narrow gate in the spring-time of life. -Still, 
millions in every age have given themselves 
early to the sanctuary, to religion, to good lives,, 
according to their light and grace, 


some of these, the few, have managed to get 
into the broad way in time, and to hold on it, 

The advocates of the two mild opinions have 
also some Scripture types which they cite as a 
set-off to those of their adversaries.- It is said 
commonly that only one-third of the angels, or 
at best a minority of them, fell. The wise and 
foolish virgins were equal .in number ; in a fairly 
cultivated field the good grain exceeds the 
cockle ; and in the fisherman s haul the. eood 


fish as a rule exceed the bad. In the parable 
of the talents, two are rewarded only one con 
demned. From the marriage feast, to which 
" the good and the bad were gathered," only 
one was expelled. All the labourers of the 
vineyard received the same recompense, which, 
according to a very probable interpretation, 
means eternal life, but in different grades of 
merit and glory. These, if they can be called 
arguments I do not credit them as such are 
certainly as powerful as those adduced in the 
other side. I do not think anyone could com 
pare, and place on the same level as arguments, 
those types urged in favour of severe and mild 
views with the Scripture proofs from the nature 
and character of God relied on by the up 
holders of the latter. As to the other argument 


put forward by the rigorists, the external-aspect 
argument, as I call it, I shall add one remark to 
those made earlier. No one, except God, or 
someone inspired by Him, could make even the 
most vague guess from this external aspect as 
to the final and eternal results of evil, and the 
powers of evil, compared with the final eternal 
results of good, and of the power of good, of God, 
" who alone is good." If one were to guess, it 
would certainly look nearer to the truth, more 
likely, and more honourable to God, to give 
Him the victor v. 



THERE is, however, a very dark side to this 
question a very sad one as well. Though the 
study, as made, would of itself induce the belief 
that no one could be finally lost, still, we must 
believe that many are. This terrible truth is 
implicitly taught in the defined dogrria of eternal 
punishment, and explicitly in our Lord s descrip 
tion of judgment day, as well as by other words 
of His. There goes, however, side by side with 
this belief, a delicate, considerate charity which 
warns us against passing a fatal sentence on 
any individual, no matter how bad his life 
apparently may have been. This, because we 
are not, nor could we be, the judges of our 
brother. God alone has the right and the 
knowledge to be such. Besides, what do we 
know of God s secret dealings with individual 
souls ? We also turn away, perhaps, from the 
thought that even one being, created in love 


for the noblest purpose by the Father, redeemed 
at such cost by the Son, and looked to and 
helped by the Holy Ghost, should be lost to 
Them and to itself for ever. 

" Hell," writes Father Faber, " teaches the 
same comfortable doctrine as heaven, but in a 
rougher strain. I do not think if we kept in 
view the perfections of God, we should venture 
to believe, unless the Church taught us, that 
there was in creation such a place as hell. 
When it has been revealed to us, we can per 
ceive not only its reasonableness, but also how 
admirably it is in keeping with the various 
attributes of God, and not least of all with the 
exquisiteness of His mercy." When God 
decreed to create this world in which we live, 
and selected, according to the saying of St. 
Augustine, to permit evil because of the good 
He would take out of it, rather than that there 
should be no evil at all, hell fits into its place 
as a matter of course. Dr. Trench, in the 
chapter of his book entitled " On Teaching by 
Parables," has some remarks which could not 
be called in question by believers, which seenu 
to ground an argument in favour of the 
necessity and reasonableness of hell. Proving 
that parables are " arguments, and may be 


alleged as witnesses," he writes : " The world 
of nature is throughout a witness for the world 
of spirit, proceeding from the same hand, grow 
ing out of the same root, and being constituted 
for that very end. All lovers of truth readily 
acknowledge these mysterious harmonies and 
the force of argument derived from them. Ta 
them the things of earth are copies of things in 
heaven, and the question suggested by the 
angel in Milton is often forced upon their 
meditations - 

What if earth 

Be but the shadow of heaven, and things therein 
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought? , 

The Lord is King, not borrowing this title from 
the kings of earth, but having lent His own 
title to them, and not the name only, but having 
so ordered that all true rule and government on 
earth, with its righteous laws, its stable ordi 
nances, \\spnnishment, and its majesty, and its 
terror, should tell of Him and of His kingdom, 
which ruleth over all." Let me now suppose 
that a man is guilty of murder, is taken up, 
tried most fairly, and found guilty, but let go 
free. He again and again repeats his first 
crime, and is again and again let off. How 

o o 

long, think you, would any people stand such 


action on the part of the king or government ? 
It would be sufficient to upset both. There 
would be monster meetings, and justly so, to 
protest against and denounce it, and to demand 
the extreme penalty of the law for the murderer. 
And the criminal s act was but a violation of 
a righteous human law, a making little of its 
majesty, its punishment, its terror. But what if 
a man so treats the law, the majesty, the punish 
ment, the terror of the Great King who ruleth 
over all, and of whose higher rule and govern 
ment those of earth are but shadows ? Is there 
to be no punishment for him ? A man wilfully 
breaks the law of God again and again, and will 
not before the end comes make that reparation, 
that repentance, so wondrously easy, which God 
asks of him. He knowingly outrages the 
majesty, power, and justice of God by. violating 
His law, and he outrages His patient, long- 
suffering mercy by not accepting the easy 
conditions upon which God will forgive 
him. He dies in this state, necessarily the 
enemy of God by his own free action, and 
therefore necessarily separated from Him for 
ever ; and this is hell, because the eternal 
loss of God is its greatest torture and punish 
ment. For a man who could so treat God, 


the mystery should be, not that there is a 
hell, but were there no hell to punish 

Many are lost. How many ? Are some or 
any lost because of only one mortal sin com 
mitted, or after many repentances ending, how 
ever, in a final unrepented fall ? These are 
God s secrets, about which we know nothing. 
God, here and there in Holy Scripture, notably 
in the first chapter of Proverbs, describes 
perhaps the class of sinners who oblige Him 
to cast them off for ever, whose eternal 
destruction is truly the work of their own 
right hand. He speaks in very awful words 
of the attitude towards them in which they 
place Him : " I will laugh in your destruction, 
and shall mock when that shall come to you 
which you feared, when sudden calamity shall 
fall on you and destruction as a tempest." But 
to whom are these words, denoting final repro 
bation, addressed ? To those to whom He 
can with truth say : " I called, and you 
refused. I stretched out My hand, and you 
regarded not. You despised all My counsel 
and neglected My reprehensions, and despised 
all My reproof." The loss of God for ever is, 
in a certain true sense, an infinite evil because 


the loss of the infinite good. May we not 
therefore hope for we are only speculating on 
a free question that this mysteriously awful 
punishment is only inflicted for the most awful 
crime. Dr. Pusey, in a very learned treatise of 
his on Eternal Punishment, in which dogma 
he firmly believed, hazards, if my memory do 
not fail me, the statement that final eternal 
reprobation is most probably the consequence 
and punishment of a wilful, obstinate, final, and 
formal rejection of God. God Himself seems 
to suggest such a thought by the earnest 
manner in which He warns sinners against 
presuming on His patience, His long-suffering, 
His mercy; telling them also that if they so 
fight Him to the end, they must pay the penalty 
of doing so. 

Many are lost. The reason or cause of this 
is simple enough, and easily understood. God 
tells us this in many places, but very plainly 
and clearly when He says, " Good and evil, life 
and death, are before man, and that which he 
shall choose shall be given him." In other 
words, man is always in contact with things, 
which, if used rightly, will be for his good and 
for his eternal happiness ; but if abused, will be 
the source of evil and eternal death. God will 


not force the good upon man and make him do 
it ; He will not violently drag him away from 
the evil and prevent him doing it. Whichever 
he himself selects will be his. "God sincerely 
wills the salvation of all men ; Christ died for 
the salvation of all men ; and grace is given to 
all men with a view to their salvation. How 
then does it happen that men are lost ? " I cite 
Franzelin : " The Fathers of the Church ask 
frequently why all are not saved." And then 
he gives the answers which they always gave, 
Because "men defraud themselves of the 
general gift and grace"; <; some men do not 
wish to yield to God"; "some men are enemies 
to themselves," because "they are unwilling to 
be saved." So Ambrose, Paulinus, Chrysostom, 
CEcumenius : " When the cause is asked why 
all men are not saved, we have the habit of 
answering, Because they do not wish it." St. 
Augustine :. " It is good that he who prepares, 
arid consents, be saved by the gift of divine 
grace, but it is not good that the unwilling and 
resisting be saved, because it would be unjust." 
St. Thomas : The Council of Aries expresses 
this truth as follows : "That some are saved 
is the gift of the Saviour, that some are lost is 
their, own fault." Another Council says ; "As 


there is, was, and will be no man whose nature 
Christ did not take, so there is not, was not, and 
never will be a man for whom. He did not die, 
though all may not be saved by the mystery of 
the Incarnation." God gives grace, but He 
never overrules free will, never necessitates 
the use of grace ; nay more, He requires free 
co-operation on the part of the receiver. 
Hence a man can neglect, refuse to use, 
abuse grace, and by doing so suffer the loss 
of his soul. 

It will occur to any thoughtful Catholic that 
purgatory throws light on this subject, and 
favours the mildest opinion. " Purgatory," 
says Father Faber, "goes as near unriddling 
the riddle of the world as any one ordinance 
which can be named. The extreme severity of 
the punishments of purgatory is another con 
sideration which leads the mind to contemplate 
the immense multitude of the saved, and of 
those saved with very imperfect dispositions, 
as the only solution of these chastisements." 
Stress was laid early in this study on the 
mysteriously easy terms on which God for 
gives the worst sinners as to the guilt of 
their sins. God is all powerful in punishing 
and in purifying, as He is in everything else. 


It is not, therefore, too much to say and to 
hope that He not only exercises His mercy, 
but fully satisfies His justice by years of 
most severe sufferings, to which He rightly 
subjects the souls of great sinners who repent 
late, or did little penance after their con 
version. Purgatory is perhaps God s greatest 
device for the saving of the majority of 



THE advocates of the severe opinions seem to 
have been very much influenced by the very 
decided view they take of the final fate of 
pagans, heretics, schismatics, and all outside 
the external pale of the Church. Some of 
them prove the severest opinion to be most 
probable, because these, with bad Catholics, 
have always been in a majority. And one 
learned and Holy Scripture commentator says 
roundly, " Omnes infideles damnuntur propter 
infidelitatem " All infidels, pagans, are damned 
because of their unbelief. With all respect for 
our adversaries, we may be allowed to study 
these classes of men in order to see if we are 
bound or justified in taking so hopeless 
a view of their state. Let us first take the 
pagan world, those who are named by 
theologians, " Infideles negativi" (negative 
infidels) I shall call them pagans that is, 


persons to whom Christ and His gospel were 
never announced, who were therefore, without 
fault of their own, ignorant of all Christian and 
Catholic truth. 

I think it well to say a word here, in order to 
protect myself against a suspicion, or a charge 
which might be suggested by remarks and a 
certain line of argument about to be made, 
namely, If all this be true, it would be as well, 
if not better, to have been born, to have lived 
and died, a pagan, rather than a child of the 
Church. I do so beforehand, asking, my 
readers to remember that charity thinketh no 
evil, and that to take scandal is often worse 
than to give it. 

With all true Catholics I believe that God s 
greatest grace is to be born in, or called to the 
true faith, to be a member of the Holy Roman 
Apostolic Church, God s great ordinary organ 
of salvation, whose divinely appointed means, 
when used, make salvation morally certain. 
And I hope there is no one who believes more 
firmly in this truth, or is more grateful for this 
greatest grace and privilege than the writer of 
these pages. At the same time, this should not 
prevent me from making in a free question the 
best plea I can, within Catholic lines, for the 


darfk continents and our brethren who inhabit 

Besides, it is well for us privileged ones to 
remember that our special grace brings with it 
a grave responsibility; that Catholics, who sin 
against greater light, and abuse greater graces 
than the poor benighted pagan, if lost will be 
the more severely punished, and therefore are 
-more guilty and criminal than they. God tells 
us this when He says, " From them to whom 
much has been given, much will be required." 
" The servant who knoweth the will of the 
-Master and does not do it, will get double 
stripes." The tree or the field carefully man 
ured and cultivated, if fruitless, or having for 
crop only briars and thorns, are declared to be 
specially accursed and for the fire. Our Lord 
announces this same truth" when, as we read 
in the eleventh chapter of St. Matthew, He 
pronounces, Woe to Corazain, Bethsaida, and 
Capharnaum, and tells them that it : will be more 
tolerable for Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom in the 
day of judgment, because if the latter had seen 
the miracles wrought in them, they had long 
ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes. And 
again, when He tells the highly-privileged Jews 
that 4 the publicans and the harlots shall ;.gx> 


into the kingdom of Gocl before them, because 
the former believed in the Baptist s preaching, 
and they, seeing this, did not even afterwards 
repent that they might believe." 

The reasoning of St. Paul in the second chapter 
of his Epistle to the Romans proves this truthalso. 
" He in the first place,"- I copy the commentary 
of Dr. MacEvilly "admits the great advantages 
the Jews possessed, and of which they were 
justly proud ; but it is to retort on them with 
greater effect, and show that the possession and 
enjoyment of these privileges only heightened 
their culpability in violating God s law." " Thou 
that makest the boast of the law by transgres 
sion of the law, dishonourest God, for the name 
of God through you is blasphemed amongst 
the Gentiles." And in point of punishment St. 
Paul places the Jew before the Gentile when he 
says : " Tribulation and anguish upon every soul 
of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and 
also of the Greek." This reasoning of the 
apostle may, unfortunately, be too often justly 
applied to some Catholics when contrasted with 
those outside the Church, even with the poor, 
ignorant pagan. 

Millions of such pagans, as defined above, 
have always existed in this world, though the 


Church has made salutary inroads on them 
everywhere. Let us take first the lowest class, 
the lowest type physically and morally, in which 
scarcely a vestige of any belief or law can be 
found. We hear and read of such. We may 
be tempted, perhaps, to thoughtlessly look ori 
them as completely God-forsaken, because of the 
heartless, cruel, savage way in which He has 
permitted them to be treated. Witness the 
slave trade, in which countless human beings, 
weak an$} helpless, not personally accountable 
for the state in which they were born, nor the 
ignorance in which they grew up, carried away 
with unjust violence, shipped, and treated worse 
than beasts, and sold into slavery. I heard a 
Bishop, who spent, his life ministering to the 
negro slaves, say that in mental capabilities they 
were not equal to a civilised child of five. Their 
very colour creates a prejudice. The first time I 
saw a coal-black priest I had a difficulty in realis 
ing that he was a priest, and few whites would, I 
suspect, seek his ministrations. Some might, 
perchance, once, not from choice, but to be able 
to say that they did so. It may seem strange to 
found an argument in favour of these poor 
creatures, as I am about to do, on the very 
wretchedness of their state. 


God is the Creator/ Father, and Saviour of 
these as He is of the best .instructed and most 
cultured Christian. He is no acceptor or 
respecter of persons. He must take in every 
thing for, as well as against, must judge all 
according to the light, the conscience, the 
capabilities which they had, and cannot condemn 
to the eternal fire except for a sin against His 
law, sufficiently promulgated to them, com 
mitted and never repented of. The time of 
this life is but a time of probation, and is not 
as a second compared to eternity. The very 
existence of evil in its varied forms here is one 
of the most cogent arguments and reasons for a 
hereafter of rewards and punishments. God is 
the Father of all those poor pagans, a Father 
not in name, but in reality, a perfect Father, 
with the love also of a mother for them. Take 
now a homely parable, an argument, not a mere 
illustration. Human earthly parents of a good, 
conscientious type consider themselves bound, 
not only from love but from duty, to have a 
special eye to, and care of, the child who is 
weakest, most helpless, most suffering, an 
imbecile perhaps. Take our Lord the Saviour, 
who died for those benighted pagans, who not 
only again and again preached and practised 


the tenderest kindness and charity to the least 
of His little ones, but denounced, in what I may 
call fierce language, anyone who would harm 
one of them. By whom was He always 
surrounded and followed ? To whom, almost 
exclusively, did He give His healing word and 
touch ? To the possessed of the devil, the 
idiot, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the leper ; 
in a word, to the afflicted and dead of body and 
soul ; to persons who were in many ways like 
to those poor, ignorant, benighted pagans. 
Now this great God, Father, and Saviour, who 
knows not the shadow of change, is always the 
same, and true to Himself. Are we not, there 
fore, almost forced to believe that He has an 
anxious, compassionate, helpful feeling towards 
those pagan children of His, intensified in pro 
portion to their miseries ? He is also infinitely 
and delicately just. He can balance, compen 
sate, equalise things which are to us inscrutable, 
and can do much in eternity to counterbalance 
what He permits in time. It is therefore, I 
may fairly contend, most probable that such a 
Father and Saviour has His own considerate, 
fatherly, and loving ways of dealing with those 
children who, without fault of their own, and in 
His permissive providence, were so born and 


placed that the gospel tidings never reached 
them, and that they grew up, lived, and died in 
ignorance ; that He gives them grace suited to 
the state in which He placed them, gives them 
means of which we know nothing, which, if 
used, will bring them home to Himself in the 
end. Who could believe that He will, as a 
matter of course, cast en masse those who were 
wretched, suffering outcasts in this life, into 
eternal exile and torment in the next ? Yet I 
have read sayings of the upholders of the two 
severe opinions, which could scarcely be inter 
preted as meaning anything else. Besides, it 
may safely be presumed that many of those 
poor creatures die in the state of unbaptized 
infants, and are therefore not lost in hell. 

Let us now view these pagans under another 
aspect. It is the most commonly accepted 
opinion that they have some code of dogma 
and morality some belief in a supreme being, 
the Creator, Rewarcler, and Punisher, in some 
great spirit whom they are bound to worship, 
propitiate, and obey. This belief is generally 
hideously disfigured by idols of their own 
imagination, sentiment, or passion, and fetish 
; worship, often with most revolting rites, even 
^ those of human sacrifice. St. Paul, in his 


Epistle to the Romans, tells us much about 
them i. That the visible created things of this 
world clearly manifest to them the eternal 
power and divinity of God. 2. That they 
Jiave a law written on theft hearts. 3. A con 
science also " bearing witness to them, and their 
^thoughts between themselves, accusing or also 

r It is asserted by eminent theologians that 
grace, proximately or remotely sufficient for 
salvation, is given to all men, even to the worst 
and most obstinate sinners, and to pagans. The 
Church herself seems to lay down this proposi 
tion by condemning the following : " Pagans, 
Jews, heretics, and others of this kind receive 
no inflow * influxum of any sort from Jesus 
Christ." The Fathers again and again incul 
cate that men perish, not because grace is 
wanting to them, but because they are wanting 
to it. St. Augustine says : " There is no soul, 
no matter how perverse^-do whose conscience 
God does not speak." St. Thomas writes : 
"It is part of God s providence to provide what 
is necessary to each for his salvation, if He, 
God, be not impeded." And again, "God 
wishes all men to be saved ; therefore grace is 
wanting to no man, and God, as far as in Him 


lies, communicates Himself to alL" AncBagain, 
" God is prepared to give grace to all, and to 
draw all to Himself. Let it not, therefore, be 
imputed to Him if anyone do not accept ft, but 
to him who does not accept it." The Council 
of Sens declares : " That grace is always at 
hand, and that no moment passes in which God 
does not stand at the door and knock, to 
whom, if anyone will open, He will enter and 
suprwith them." I would ask my readers to 
remember the numerous means already alluded 
to by which the Church militant, suffering and 
triumphant, do their best to bring home grace 
to the worst sinners, to those who are in the 
greatest danger of being lost. 

When and how often God gives grace to 
those pagan souls we cannot determine, as He 
has His own wisely planned ways and times of 
distributing it. Theologians, however, assert 
with great confidence I cite Father Hurter, S.J. 
that He gives it (i) when the observance 
of a difficult precept, or a grave temptation 
presses ; (2) when a sinner is urged to repent 
by remorse of conscience ; (3) when such a soul 
comes to the use of reason ; (4) when means, 
divinely instituted, for salvation are proposed to 
him (5) when dying. There is also the celebrated 


dictum ipf St. Thomas : "If anyone born and 
reared amongst savages does what in him lies 
to follow the dictates of natural reason in the 
seeking of good and the avoiding of evil, God 
will reveal to him that which is necessary for 
salvation by interior inspiration, or by sending 
a teacher." I italicise " interior inspiration," for 
I have heard or read this saying, those words 
omitted. I presume, as self-evident, that God 
could not view or judge these benighted pagans 
on exactly the same lines He will Catholics and 
large bodies of Christians who have a written 
law and an organised religion. We Catholics 
are no doubt singularly privileged, the petted 
children of God, but we must not do an in 
justice to Him by imagining that we v-have 
so absorbed His privileges and love that He 
has not much left for our poor pagan brothers 
and sisters. 

With most of those, we may fairly suppose 
that the dogmatic and moral code written on 
their hearts, as well as the remnants of truth- 
disfigured and corrupted, which have come 
down to them by tradition comprise very few 
points, and are of a very vague and shadowy 
kind. A great spirit, or greater being than 
themselves, whom they are bound in some way 


to worship, honour, fear ; whose beneficent and 
protecting, as well as his harmful and punish 
ing power, ought to be propitiated. They are, 
as we are told by those who travelled or lived 
amongst them, sincere in their awful beliefs and 
rites. It is a relieving thought that some of 
their cruel and most revolting practices, such 
as human sacrifices, have for their reason some 
distorted, disfigured religious belief, feeling, or 
sentiment, and that nothing weaker could sus 
tain and keep them alive. Their moral law 
comprises perhaps one or two precepts not to 
slay a friend or to kill an enemy in unfair fight. 
But no matter what the law written on the 1 
heart, or in some other way manifested to him, 
he has conscience and grace to observe it. 
Nor can he be lost for ever unless he violates 
it wilfully, and dies impenitent. Now let us 
place those pagans side by side with Catholics, 
and study them for a moment. Many Catholics 
make very light, at times, of their written law, 
clearly and distinctly known to them as such, 
and again and again sin against it. Is it 
wonderful that many of those pagans act in 
a similar manner with their law ? The Catholic 
under remorse or pressure of conscience wishes 
to repent, has the grace to do so, and does so 

PAGANS 135- 

by the means settled for him. The pagan has 
a conscience as well, and under its remorse or 
pressure he wishes to repent. He has grace to 
do so, and uses it in making that act of sorrow 
suited to his state, according to his capability, 
and acceptable to God. Surely there is nothing 
very difficult or impossible to him in his repent 
ance, as there is nothing in the Catholic s. All 
we know of God Creator, Father, and Saviour 
of all men should lead us to believe that He 
has not left millions of His children without a 
means of repentance accommodated to them, 
and not more difficult than those given to 


Catholics. The Great Saviour v/ept over 
favoured, but ungrateful, Jerusalem, " which- 
had slain the prophets and stoned them that 
were sent to her," and expressed by a tender 
and touching figure His longing to gather her 
children to His heart. Are we to suppose that 
He has neither tears nor heart for millions 
sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, 
who, in their great or almost perfect ignorance 
of Him, could not be ungrateful? He is no 
acceptor of persons, and the God of all men. 
We are perfectly ignorant of God s providence 
and dealings with pagans to whom the gospel 
has never been announced,- how he treats with 


them living and dying. But the presumption 
is that He is towards them as a perfect Father 
and Saviour should be tender, considerate, and 

"Our ignorance," writes Father Faber, "of 
the last inward processes of deathbeds leaves 
one of the most spacious portions of life in 
accessible to our notice. The hour of death 
is very spacious. It gives God room. It is 
God s last chance with His creature, and Divine 
wisdom must know well how to use its chances* 
In the life of Condren there is a very remark 
able passage urging on us the duty of thanks 
giving to God for the graces He bestows on 
the dying, inasmuch as His compassion for 
them is inexplicable, and He seems to distri 
bute His favours to them all the more willingly, 
because they are hardly now in danger of pro 
faning them." "The Divine mercy," says St. 
Catherine of Sienna, " pursues the sinner even 
to the last death agony. Then, for the last 
time, the Creator and Redeemer of souls pre 
sents Himself to him, and says, Do you wish to 
be Mine? Are there any who will say, No? 
How many who will say, Yes ? " The death 
struggle is the last fight between the powers of 
evil and of good, between God and devil for 


a most precious inheritance, and whoever 
conquers is conqueror for ever. Now, as we 
know that right and might are both on one 
side, we ought easily to guess where victory 
will be. 

Taking up again the argument from the 
parable of God being the Great Perfect Father, 
with a mother s love as well for His children : 
Good earthly parents will do all they can, spare 
no expense, nurse with greatest vigilance and 
care their child when the child is seriously, 
dangerously ill. Their grief becomes the 
greatest, and often breaks all bounds, when 
they realise that death is about to take their 
child from them for ever. When David s infant 
died, he shut himself up, threw himself on 
the ground, and would not eat. And when 
Absolom, the worst son father ever had, was 
slain, he raved wildly through his palace. It is 
fair to hope that there is something of this, but 
of a higher order, in the great Father, and in 
the Son of David, towards His children, and, 
most of all, towards the worst and most forlorn,, 
who are in imminent danger of being lost, and 
so lost to Him for ever. 

I may tell a fact which I have from one of 
the persons concerned, that gives in a nutshell 


the arguments which have been insisted oh in 
favour of the mildest opinion. 1 A lady of mfeans 
and position was for ever making and keeping 
herself miserable, brooding over the fate of the 
poor pagans. She seemed to believe, like some 
of the advocates of the severe opinions, that 
they should, as a matter of course, be lost. On 
making her lament to a priest of great learning 
and holiness, he at once said to her : " Madam, 
you seem to have great pity and compassion for 
those creatures ; I presume you would give 
much to save them?" "Oh, father," she 
answered, " I would give all I have. I would give 
my life to save them." " Well," he rejoined, 
" do you not think that the great God who 

1 We see what undeveloped good there may be amongst 
Gentiles or pagans in the fact that when God s Word came to 
the sinful pagan city, Ninive, king and people did penance at 
once, of the severest and most humiliating kind. We learn also 
how considerate God is in excusing and defending pagans 
against the hard thoughts of their fellow-man. Jonas was 
" angry even unto death" because the tree, which had protected 
him from the burning rays of the sun, withered ; and also, most 
probably, because his word of doom did not come to pass. 
" And the Lord said to him, You are grieved for the ivy for 
which thou hast not laboured nor made it to grow, which in one 
night came up, and in one night withered. And shall not I spare 
Ninive, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred 
and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish 
between their right hand and their left ?" 


created and died for them has as much pity, 
compassion, and love for them as you have? " 

concluding portion of a sermon preached by Dn 
Hedley, Bishop of Newport, which I saw too late to utilise 
in the text, so pleased me that I give it in a note, glad to have 
so learned, so holy, and so distinguished a prelate to lean 
on : " Were these heathen peoples within the reach of salva 
tion ? Nay for barbarism and paganism still cover the larger 
part of the earth s surface what are we to say, at this moment, 
of the multitudes who sit in darkness and in the shadow of 
death ? First, we must say this : that it is of Catholic faith 
that Almighty God gives to all men sufficient grace to be saved ; 
next, that no man is condemned, or can be condemned, merely 
for inculpable ignorance ; thirdly, we must remember that 
responsibility is proportioned to capacity. This is so with 
children, with persons of feeble intellect, and with savages. The 
difference between the intelligence of these classes, and the 
highest trained minds of advanced civilisation, is very difficult 
to realise. The ideas of the savage about God and on morality 
may be vague, limited, and even inconsistent. But it is certain 
that the ideas are there, at least in rudiment. This being so, is 
it not quite certain that in all savage and heathen peoples there 
are multitudes of humble, obedient hearts, not by any means 
without occasional lifting up to a father and a judge, who 
seldom transgress essential morality ? I believe these are the 
people of the two talents, and I, for one, should not like to 
think that they did not enter into the joy of their Lord. For if 
there is one thing more certain than another, it is that it is not 
the simple that are cast out, but the wilfully perverse. And if we 
can be sure, as it seems to me we can, both from Holy Scripture 
and from the science of anthropology, that the idea of God as a 
maker and a rewarder is found in the traditions of every people 
in the universe, it follows as a necessary consequence it is 
hardly an ; assumption to conclude that the poor, the suffering, 
the simple, the patient multitudes in every age, must have turned 


We v may, perhaps, apply what has been said 
of pagans to another class ; to those masses, 
steeped in the grossest ignorance, whom the 
truths of the gospel, even as taught by outside 
sects, have never reached, could not reach. 
We hear and read of such living in large cities, 
particularly in those of heretical countries. We 
cannot call this state into which they are born 
and live a personal sin, for which they could be 
held accountable, though it may be traced back 
to others who, by their personal sins, helped to 
create it. I would not wish to be misunder 
stood, as if I were making little of the sins of 
those persons. I am merely intent on trying to 
show that there are good reasons, founded in 
the nature of God, for thinking that He has 
His own way of dealing with, and saving, those 
poor creatures, not only exercising His mercy, 
but vindicating His justice, rather than His own 
way of permitting them, or the vast majority of 
them, to be cast into the eternal fire. 

Many upholders of the severe opinions take 
as hopeless, or nearly as hopeless, a view of 
heretics, schismatics, etc., as they do of pagans, 

to Him, dimly and intermittently, perhaps, but with sufficient 
apprehension to bring them within the reach of His infinite 
, mercy and compassion." 


and by means of these swell the number of the 
lost. Let us now give a word to these classes, to 
be counted by millions, Lutherans, Nestorians, 
Coptic, Armenian, and Greek, or better perhaps, 
Russian schismatics. Thousands of these, 
validly baptized or not baptized, die before they 
come to the use of reason. Thousands of these 
are simple, sincere, well-intentioned lay people 
I have these only in mind now who have to 
live in the heterodox atmosphere in which they 
were born. A misfortune, certainly, but not a 
personal, wilful fault or sin. They are simple 
people, who never doubt, nor think of doubting, 
because simple trust in the traditional religion 
of one s family and ancestors is a strong power, 
and because they take everything in unquestion 
ing faith, as their ministers give it to them. 
They believe in God, in our Lord, in prayer, in 
certain external rites by which God should be 
worshipped and honoured, in sin, and in the 
necessity of repentance. Millions of them, like 
the Greek and Eastern schismatics, have a 
valid sacrifice, externally more solemn than 
ours, valid sacraments, and very marked 
devotion to the Ever Blessed Virgin, Mother of 
God, and to the saints. Simple, uneducated 
people, living many of them far away from town 


and city, they know nothing of the true Church, 
or only what has been told to them by her 
enemies. They have grace by which they can 
lead good lives, grace and the sacrament by 
which they can repent if they sin, grace and the 
xsacraments to prepare for death. Now, keep- 
ring in mind God s real character, as He Himself 
: has given it to us (I know I say this too often : 
.1 do so because all my arguments rest on it), it 
is far more probable that the vast majority of 
those simple people are saved, than that they 
.are cast off wholesale because of a state, and 
the consequences of a state, in which they were 
placed by God s providence, and for which they 
are not personally accountable. 

It may sound harsh and seem strange to say, 
that there is a class of persons who appear to 
be in greater danger of being lost than the 
pagan or negative infidel, the grossly ignorant 
or the simple followers of sects and schisms : 
.namely, heretics and schismatics of the educated 
.class. These, as a rule, by profession and 
education, know much of Holy Scripture, and 
reverence it as the Word of God, believe in 
most, if not all, the fundamental truths of 
Christianity, are not ignorant of history, and 
live in countries where the Catholic Church is 


carrying on her mission. The danger would 
also seem to increase in proportion to their 
education, knowledge, and nearness to the 
Church. They know too much, and have gone 
too far, not to have the thought forced on them 
that they should learn a little more and go a 
little further. It is scarcely possible that such 
persons have not, from time to time, some mis 
givings as to their religious position, and that 
light is not almost forced on them as to the 
paramount claims of the Catholic Church. 

I was once much impressed by the reasons of 
his conversion given to me by one who was born 
and lived for years a High Church Anglican 
layman ; reasons which one should think 
could not be explained away by others holding 
what he once held. " I always believed," he 
said, 4 in Holy Scripture as the Word of God. 
This made it clear that Christ founded only one 
Church, a visible, piiblic, moral body, a king 
dom which was to teach all nations could not 
fail nor err, because the divinely constituted 
organ of truth, and should last, in all ages, to 
the last. I knew something of history, and this 
told me that, for centuries, from the fourth to 
the sixteenth, there was no visible, public 
Church but one, which held the same dogmas, 


rites, practices, etc., which the Catholic Church 
holds to-day. The Sacrifice of the Mass, the 
real abiding presence in the Blessed Sacra 
ment, seven sacraments, purgatory, prayer, and 
masses for the dead, devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin, and Bishops appointed by the Roman 
Pontiff as successor of St. Peter, and in com 
munion with him. So I was forced to the 
conclusion that the Catholic Church is the true 
Church of Christ, or that the promises of our 
Lord utterly failed. I could not accept the 
latter, and was obliged to accept the former." 
A condensed proof of the Church. There is 
reason, however, for fearing that many of his 
class, from human, worldly, cowardly motives, 
slight, ignore, stifle, or strangle divine warnings, 
suggestions, graces given to them, and com 
pound in some way or other with their 

Still, of this very numerous class, as well as 
of their great opponents, who style themselves 
Reformation Protestants and Nonconformists, 
we are not bound to take that dismal view 
which the advocates of the severe opinions 
take. The children of many of those classes 
are baptized, some not baptized, validly at least. 
Now all these, if they die, as hundreds of them 


do, before coming to his. use of reason, are not 
lost. Again, charity thinketh no evil. We are 
not to judge of the; interior affairs, motives, 
secrets v6f men s -actions or lives from their 
exterior conduct. We see in them what we think 
is wrong, and is perhaps really so, but seldom 
think of the reasons and excuses by which they 
justify themselves, or of the difficulties in the 
way of their living otherwise than they do. 
There is an old saying, " The best hurlers are 
on the ditch," that is, the most self-sufficient 
and severe criticisers of a struggle or fight, are 
they that are not in it. To judge fairly and 
justly of the real full guilt of a man, we must 
honestly imagine ourselves in similar position 
arid circumstances. If we do this, are we sure 
that we would be better than he ? 

We must admit that a large number of those 
we are now considering have strong religious 
feelings and principles wrong and mistaken, if 
you will, in our view, but not in theirs, They 
often prove that they are sincere and in good 
faith, not only by the earnest, but even by the 
unpopular or disedifying way in which they 
express and fight for them. Witness the stand- 
up battle going on in England for some time 
between the Reformation Protestants and the 



High Church Ritualistic party. Numbers of 
these classes believe in prayer, and practise it ; in 
sin and in repentance ; cling to their sacraments 
and sacrifice, though they are not really valid ; 
have love for our Lord, and who, in their alms 
and generous charity to the poor of Christ, often 
contrast not unfavourably with ourselves. Is 
it possible that anyone who was through life 
kind of heart and generous of hand to the poor, 
for love of Christ, was lost? Many texts of 
Scripture, our Lord s description of judgment 
day, and very pronounced sayings of the 
Fathers, particularly of St. Chrysostom and St. 
Augustine, founded on these texts and descrip 
tions, would perhaps justify me in saying No. 

Then there is such a thing as invincible 
ignorance. "The depths of invincible ignor 
ance," writes Father Faber, " may underlie no 
inconsiderable region of a man s moral nature, 
and each individual character has an invincible 
ignorance belonging to itself." 

1 Some time ago there was a controversy carried on in The 
Tablet concerning Nonconformists, what they do and do not 
believe. The following letter was published over the name of 
F. W. Lewis, who wrote as one well informed in the matter : 
" We must remember that, as a rule, Nonconformists look on 
Catholicism as a tissue of absurdities. From infancy they have 
been taught by every conceivable method that, intellectually, it i 


Pope Pius IX., of holy memory, gave an 
allocution of the Qth of December 1854. In it 
he condemns as " impious and fatal " the opinion 
of those who hold "that we may well hope for 
the salvation of all who were never members of 
the Church of Christ, and that the way of salva 
tion may be found in any religion." But he 
adds : " God forbid that we should dare to 
place limits to the Divine mercy, which is 
infinite. God forbid that we should wish to 
scrutinise the secret counsels and judgments of 
God, which are a great deep and cannot be 
penetrated by human reason. The dogmas of 
Catholic faith touching the justice and mercy of 
God are not opposed one to the other. It is to 
be held, as of faith, that no one can be saved 
outside the Apostolic Roman Church. This is 
the one ark of salvation, and he who enters not 
into it shall perish in the flood. At the same 
time, it is to be held as certain that they who 
are ignorant of the true religion, if their ignor 
ance be invincible, are not guilty of fault in this 

beneath contempt, and that an acquaintance with Holy Scrip 
ture is all that is needed to dispose of its pretensions. No 
doubt it is hard for born Catholics to regard such persons as in 
good faith, but the simple truth is, they are in entire ignorance 
of the wealth of proof which can be adduced from Holy Scrip- 
ture for Catholic doctrine." 


head. Moreover, charity demands that we 
pour forth assiduous prayers that all nations 
may be converted to Christ, that we labour 
with all our strength for the conversion of all 
men, for the hancfof God is not shortened, and 
the gifts of heavenly jgrace are never wanting 
to those who wish and ask, with sincere mind, 
to be refreshed with His light." 

That a person can be invincibly ignorant of 
the claims of the true Church is admitted by all, 
and is quite intelligible. There have been, and 
there are thousands who, owing to the state 
into which they were born, their position and 
surroundings at home, at school, at college, at 
university, were and are confirmed in the 
religion of their birth and family, and protected 
against any doubt concerning it. Every indi 
vidual with whom they come in contact, every 
book, placed in their hand or within their reach, 
every fact and view touching religion keep them 
in unquestioning faith with reference to their 
own position, and too often in dislike, if not 
dread and horror, of the Church of Christ. 
This will apply wiih more force to women 
carefully reared in good Christian homes. 

Speaking of such persons, an eminent 
Cardinal has said: "Of those who have 


sickened and died in good faith on the way, 
how many have been save^TJby prayer!" 
Another eminent Cardinal has "written : "I 
have no doubt that, through imperfect minis 
tries and irregular systems, God shows His 
mercy on every soul which has the right dis 
positions. Therefore no doubt could be cast 
on the reality of the work of grace in human 
souls in the Church of England, or in any 
other Church, by being cgnvinced that its 
position is schismatical and its acts irregular. 
When convinced of this, however, it is a 
vital duty to submit to the law of unity and 
authority in the Church of God. I believe 
all sincere souls receive grace according to 
the measure in which they act up to their 
own light and convictions." I read also in 
one of the approved tracts of the Catholic 
Truth Society the following sentence : " The 
Catholic belief is that no penitent^ soul can 
perish, that one who really loves God cannot 
be lost, and there are holy, penitent, ancjl loving 
souls in the most erroneous systems." I heard, 
on undoubted authority, that the late Cardinal 
Manning, speaking of a person dead who was 
never received into the Church, said, " I wish I 
were as sure of my own salvation as I am of his." 


The adversaries may ask what authority I 
have for presuming, as I have again and again 
done, that God has His own ways of dealing 
with such souls pagans, heretics, schismatics, 
etc. I answer, because He is their Creator, 
Father, and Saviour. If they go further, and 
ask what are those means, I answer at once I 
do not know, foir, in the words of Pius IX., I do 
not wish " to .scrutinise the secret counsels and 
judgments of God." I may retort, however, by 
asking what authority have they for holding 
that the Great Creator, Father, and Saviour, 
who sincerely desires the salvation of all men, 
who died for all men, who gives grace to all, 
who is no mere acceptor of persons, has never 
theless left millions in every age, so neglected 
or so badly helped, that all, or the vast majority 
of them, are lost? I can find and I have 
studied some of the strongest upholders of 
the severest opinion only two reasons or 
arguments, one from Scripture, and the other 
from the external aspect of the world. Both, 
with all respect, so weak and misleading as to 
be no arguments at all. There is a saying 
attributed to Saint Augustine which may throw 
some light on this subject, and which seems to 
favour our opinion: " On the last day many 


will be found who have belonged to the soul of 
the Church, though they have never belonged 
to the visible body." That is, persons pagans, 
heretics, schismatics, etc. w r hom God in His 
own way brought home, by the grace of repent 
ance and love to Himself directly, and to His 
Church indirectly or implicitly. The last argu 
ment in favour of the mildest opinion, from 
one s own experience of God s dealings with 
himself, may appear somewhat strange and 
weak to many, though perhaps the strongest 
of all to a humble, thoughtful soul. If such 
a soul, coming towards the close of life, review 
its past history God s generosity, patience, 
compassion, mercy, readiness to forgive ; how 
the great fisher of souls played for years with 
him, often disappointed and distressed by his 
waywardness, his ingratitude, his breaking the 
golden cord and getting away, far away, from 
Him ; still, He met him again and again with 
another and another bait, till in joy He landed 
him safely : such a soul will certainly see in 
himself not an exception, but the rule and 
example of The Good God s dealing with 
the souls of His children. To sum up, in a 
last word, I must say that the mildest opinion 
the salvation of the majority of mankind 


is what we should naturally expect from the 
study of God s nature and character, as we 
have them in Scripture, in prophecy and fulfil 
ment, in parable and in fact, in the teaching 
of the Church and of her theologians. This 
opinion appears to be so becoming and 
necessary a result of the Incarnation as to 
make it most probable that God in His own 
wise and powerful way, will give it effect. It 
would also crown with victory and triumph 
our Lord, in reward for the sufferings, agony, 
and death which He lovingly bore for the 
salvation of all men. Moreover, the belief 
in this opinion is calculated to give us higher, 
-grander, more magnificent views and thoughts 
of God, and to urge us to work out our salva 
tion, not so much in fear and trembling, as in 
the nobler and stronger motive, power of love. 



THE argument from God, the Saviour of 
all men, is most beautifully suggested, if not 
really given to us, in the parable of the Good 
Samaritan. Suggested : because almost all the 
Fathers and commentators apply this parable 
allegorically to our Lord. Really given : be 
cause St. Augustine asserts that our Lord 
intended this Himself, and proves it as follows : 
"When two terms of reproach were cast at 
our Lord * Thou art a Samaritan and hath a 
devil He answers, I have not a devil. The 
term He answered, He refuted ; the term, as to 
which He was silent, He confirmed. " None 
can refuse to acknowledge," writes Dr, Trench, 
the facility with which all the circumstances 
of the parable yield themselves to this inter 
pretation. Such a meaning as this, lurking 
behind, though one day to pierce through the 
literal, and to add to the parable a yet more 
endearing charm, would be, of course, latent at 
the first utterance." 


The circumstances of the parable are familiar 
to us, as we find them in the tenth chapter of 
St. Luke. A certain man, when journeying 
from Jerusalem to Jericho, is set upon by robbers, 
who strip, wound, and then leave him half dead. 
A priest and a Levite pass him by and give him 
no help. Not so a Samaritan his bitter, sworn, 
traditional enemy for he stops, binds his 
wounds, cleansing and soothing them with wine 
and oil, then lifts him up, " sets him upon his 
own beast," brings him to an inn, and arranges 
that he be looked to on to perfect recovery. 

The traveller, lying stripped, wounded, and 
bleeding to death, stands in the parable as the 
representative of Adam and all his children. 
" This man," writes Hugh of St. Victor, 
typifies the human race, which, in the persons 
of our first parents, forsook the celestial state, 
and by their sin fell into the misery of this world 
of exile, being, by the cunning of the old enemy, 
despoiled of the robe of innocence and im 
mortality, and sorely wounded by the taints of 
original sin." 

But we must consider his state as more 
desperate, because of the gashes inflicted on 
himself by his own personal sins. " For we," 
to cite St. Clement of Alexandria, "at the 


hands of the powers of darkness, have been 
nigh done to death with the number of our 
wounds, with lusts, passions, sorrows, guiles, 
and pleasures." Or, as others : picture it, Adam 
and all his children left Jerusalem the heavenly 
city, the city of the vision of peace, paradise, 
and the state of innocence, where they were at 
peace with God and descended towards the 
profane and cursed city, Jericho. But no sooner 
had they done so than they fell into the hands 
of him who is a robber and a murderer, who 
stripped them of the robe of innocence, and 
wounded them so terribly, that life is fast ebbing 

St. Ignatius, in his meditation on the Incar 
nation, -pictures very vividly our state as per 
sonified by this) victim of robbers and murderers. 
He bids us - bejjiold in imagination " all the 
surface and circuit of this terrestrial globe 
covered with men so varied in dress and 
carnage, some white, others black," all, from 
the elegant voluptuous Greek and Roman, on 
to the wild naked savage. " Some in peace, 
others in war ; some weeping, others laughing ; 
some in health, others in sickness ; some, being 
born, others dying ; now they swear, blaspheme, 
wound, and kill, etc., all descending into hell." 


Naturally, we should look round to see whence 
help may come, and cry with all our hearts for 
it. The priest and the Levite that is the old 
law saw us and passed us by because they 
could not succour us. The old law could not 
give life (St. Paul, Galatians). We could not 
help ourselves, because we were all in the same 
damnation wounded, bleeding to death. No 
supernatural nor life-giving power within us. 
We lay of ourselves, helpless and hopeless, in a 
deep pit a very Slough of Despond alienated 
from God and His enemies. But help and 
healing did come. By whom and how ? By 
One who alone was able and willing to lift us up 
and save. By Him, The Eternal Son of God, 
who offered Himself to His Father for this 
work. By Him who said, " Oblations and 
holocausts and sacrifices for sin did not please 
Thee ; but a body Thou has fitted to Me. 
Behold, I come to do Thy will, and I desire it 
in the midst of My heart." By Him, the good 
Samaritan who forgot what we were His 
enemies in His pity and compassion for us. 

And how ? This is a word to study, and to 
meditate on, in order to love our Lord the more. 
How? Does He sit enthroned in heaven and give 
His savingword to us inadistant, kingly, Imperial 


manner ? Does He take the angelic nature, or 
a glorified impassible human nature, and come 
to strike us with the sword of justice, or to bid 
us to remain in that miserable state, to suffer on 
that bed of our own making, or to pass us by 
with indifference or contempt ; or, without raising 
a hand Himself, give us labour the more ; with 
out shedding a tear Himself, make us weep the 
more ; and without knowing Himself grief, to 
give us sorrow the more ? No ! In His 
great love, " it behoved Him in all things 
to .be made like to His brethren, that He 
might become a merciful High Priest, that 
He might be a propitiation for the sins 
of the people. Hence He took our lowly 
nature that very nature in which we had 
been struck down and wounded unto death. 
And by doing so He bridged that mighty gulf 
which separated earth from heaven, man from 
God, children from their Father ; crossed it, 
and, stooping to our lowest level, came to us, 
bound up our wounds, cleansing and soothing 
and cheering with the wine and oil of His 
grace, and then taking us up into His arms, 
placed us "upon His own beast," which last 
typifies His sacred humanity. How truly so! 
for how did He bind up our wounds, and stay 


the flow of blood and heal our bruises ? By 
being Himself, in His human nature, <l wounded 
for our iniquities and bruised for our sins 
carrying our griefs and bearing our sorrows, and 
atoning for our crimes in His flesh on the 
Cross." And lastly, He "brought us to the 
inn," to His Church, or, in His own way, to 
His sacred heart, "and took care of us." A 
merciful, compassionate, loving care of all, in 
which He is never wanting. 



WALSH, Nicholas. 

The comparative number of the 
saved and lost. w*